Pushing the boundaries of an entire genre is risky business, but great things can be achieved when it is done right. On the other hand, failure is born out of the same kind of boldness, so you probably won’t be able to tell the difference until you present it to an unbiased public. The game at hand tries to change the rules of the horror genre, so it is up to the public to say whether it managed to do so in a positive way.
Investigate the death of your lover
At first sight, Enola is nothing more than a simple adventure/horror game with puzzles and a cute little story to keep you company as you search for the solutions, but once you get past the first few minutes, things get much more psychological. Moreover, the story switches between disturbing and endearing, given the fact that you are bombarded with grotesque pictures of mangled bodies one minute, and beautiful love stories the next.
Speaking of which, the plot revolves around you and your lover, Angelica, who happens to disappear one day. Serial killers seem to be the culprits, but the game makes the case seem almost supernatural, using all kinds of symbolism and powerful imagery. From time to time, you are even jumped by some kind of humanoid creature, although that is mostly for show and to test your pacemaker’s endurance to stress.
Solve simple puzzles and explore intriguing environments
The gameplay is all about exploration and solving puzzles, since you usually have to find the key that opens the next door, or a piece of some mechanism in order to make it work again. As you may have deduced, the puzzles are not the the important part, which is why not a lot of emphasis was put on them. Instead, the psychological story and the beautiful imagery is used to make the experience memorable.
Speaking of which, the game uses the third installment of the Unreal graphics engine, which means that it looks more than decent when it comes to lighting and special effects. Some of the textures lack polish, but a lot of work went into detail and you can see that when it comes to the huge number of objects that usually decorate a room. The same goes for the slightly more vivid sections, since they can have quite the effect on you, especially if you are not used with disturbing imagery.
Plenty of wasted potential
In the end, regardless of how many things Enola got right, it got most of them wrong, unfortunately. The story is nicely told and solid in some aspects, but you can easily lose track of it, since the scripts make it difficult to tell which part was supposed to come first. Moreover, the simplistic puzzles make the game feel cheap, especially since they are mostly the same all throughout the story.