Enlightenus II: The Timeless Tower Collector's Edition PC CD
Published by Focus Multimedia
Developed by Blue Tea Games
Enlightenus II: The Timeless Tower is the sequel to Enlightenus, a rather unusual hidden object game. What made Enlightenus so different was that you weren't simply looking for a checklist of items within a scene designed to conceal as many of the items as possible. You had to solve puzzles to find objects that would open locks which in turn opened up new areas to explore. Most importantly however, is that you had to put items back into any given scene. Some objects couldn't even be placed until you'd placed other objects into the scene and caused various interactions to occur which then made it possible for you to place other items.
You'll play as a female journalist who has been promised the story of a lifetime. A patient at a local hospital, an old man named Clarence Flatt, who also happens to be a skilled clock maker, wants you to help him. He has given you an Emerald Gem and a map and wants you to explore the Timeless Tower. To cut a long story short, you'll have to explore the six floors of the Timeless Tower in search of pieces from the Ageless Clock. The pieces are beginning to unravel time and Clarence needs you to find the pieces to prevent his past being completely altered. You'll see Clarence at five different stages of his life and visit locations such as ancient Egypt, medieval England and even a Mayan jungle in your quest to recover the missing pieces.
If you have played Enlightenus and enjoyed what the game had to offer, you'll be more than happy with how Enlightenus II plays. The game offers largely the same experience which is no surprise given how impressive the original Enlightenus is. Throughout the course of the game you'll visit various places such as the Forbidden City, a medieval castle and the opera house a number of times. The visiting of the same places numerous times is standard practice in an hidden object game but what I like in Enlightenus II is that the changes you make to a scene and the items you add are still in place when you revisit.
As well as putting items back into a scene, you'll also have some puzzles to solve. Some of these are quite challenging but you are given the option to bypass any of the puzzles if you wish by sacrificing a couple of your Enlightenus cards (hereafter referred to as E cards). The puzzles I really enjoyed in Enlightenus II involved having to arrange a sequence of actions to perform and you had to work out the correct sequence. I particularly found the style of these puzzles a refreshing change from the typical challenges you'll face in the game.
In the previous paragraph we mentioned E cards. In a typical scene in the game there are two E cards to discover. Most of the time these cards are camouflaged pretty well and will take some spotting. At any time you can take a hint if you're unsure of where a particular item should be placed. After using a hint however, the hint meter will take time to refill. Using an E card will fill the meter almost instantly; therefore E cards are pretty useful things to collect throughout the course of the game.
With this being the Collector's Edition you'll find some extra content here. There's an integrated strategy guide that you can call on at any time to give you solutions for where to place certain items. Some of the puzzles in the game are random however so the strategy guide won't have all of the answers for you. There's an achievement system here too in addition to a soundtrack (OK that's of no interest to us) and some desktop wallpaper. Perhaps the most welcome bonus however is the inclusion of a rather enjoyable free game entitled Forgotten Realms: The Mayan Princess. This is a hidden object where you have to solve riddles before you'll know what item you're looking for.
Enlightenus II looks a little more polished than the first game but essentially you're still looking at a game that runs at the low resolution of 1024x768 and will probably run with ease on more or less any PC from the last ten years or so. In some respects this is a little disappointing as the game isn't taking advantage of the graphical horsepower that most modern PC's are capable of however, it does have the advantage of being able to run on low specification laptops without any difficulties (a DirectX 9.0 compatible GPU is required) which many will see as a major plus point.
Hidden object games rarely cause any problems for the deaf and hard of hearing and Enlightenus II is no different. All of the information is given visually and the dialogue is subtitled so you won't miss out on any of the storyline. Tutorial information is given in text and ensures you're fully aware of what needs to be done. I haven't played all of the bonus game, Forgotten Realms: The Mayan Princess, but from what I've seen there are no problems.
Having thoroughly enjoyed Enlightenus I have been really looking forward to Enlightenus II and on the whole the game does not disappoint. The game doesn't mess with the successful formula of the first game and what it adds in addition, only serves to make the experience that little bit more enjoyable. The bonus features, particularly the free game, help to make the overall package excellent value for money for anyone who has even the slightest interest in hidden object games.