Ever since smartphones found their way into the lives of everyone and their Nan, pocket puzzlers have been ten-a-penny. Not all of them can be Candy Crush or Bejewelled though, so for every hit there are dozens of pretenders, imitators and those simply out to make a quick buck.
Einstein Enigma sees players rotating interlocking wheels to align coloured circles. Each selection of six levels ups the ante in some way from overlapping said circles to throwing in gears that cause multiple wheels to turn at once. As you might expect, the latter stages get truly maddening as the characteristics of past stages start to pile up. Before the end you’ll be praying for the simple logic puzzles of earlier stages as you’re presented with a predicament not unlike untangling 200ft of neglected Christmas tree lights.
Each level has within it four tiers of difficulty that reward stars for their completion. Earn enough stars and you’ll unlock new stages, yadda yadda yadda. It’s a simple idea nicely built upon and executed in a perfectly functional way that balances well the frustration it presents with a sense of progress. The presentation of that core idea, however, leaves a lot to be desired.
Einstein Enigma doesn’t get off to a good start with an opening screen that acts as a simple but unnecessary puzzle in itself. You’re presented with a background of coloured shapes, the game’s title and a cartoon Einstein. There’s no start button or a menu of any kind, just a pulsating purple piece of the background that must be pushed to start the game. It takes no time at all to realise what you need to do, but why bother making such an obtuse opening screen? It’s just going to put people off.
Similarly, there are only three sounds that the game makes. There’s the noise that tells you a stage is completed (which sounds like a lift reaching its floor), there’s the light ding of rotating wheels, and, most common of all, a foreboding clunk that accompanies everything else that you do. It sounds like a large metal door being shut behind you, leaving you in a small windowless room with nothing but a single Rubiks Cube at its centre. That is Einstein Enigma.
VERDICT: Angry Birds isn’t a continuing success because of its core mechanics, it’s because of the ways in which those mechanics are presented time and time again. Einstein Enigma lacks that fundamental appeal. There’s a good puzzle game in here somewhere, but the way in which it’s presented is simply too cold and uninviting.
AVERAGE. The epitome of a 50/50 game, this title will be unspectacular but inoffensive, charmless but amiable. We aren’t condemning a game by scoring it a 5, but we certainly aren’t championing it, either.