Emily Ravenstone defending herself from a seagull in Dimhaven Enigmas
Zadbox Entertainment

The adventure game: a tried-and-true staple of PC gaming to this very day, adventure games often rely on fun aesthetics and crafty puzzles over chills and thrills. While I haven’t played too many adventure games, I have played games that heavily borrow from the genre. Plenty of survival horror titles, like Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, mix excellent exploration and brain-scratching puzzles along with their frightening antics. Still, I couldn’t help but feel drawn to something like Dimhaven Enigmas when it hit Steam earlier this year.

This exciting game was developed and published by Zadbox Entertainment, which previously dazzled many with the exciting and enigmatic Quern – Undying Thoughts in 2016. Whereas Quern took direct influence from the surrealistic setting of Myst, Dimhaven appears to pull from a bevy of fascinating influences, namely its own predecessor, among other games like Firewatch.

A demo for the game recently debuted during Steam’s Next Fest, but it remains available on the storefront for anyone to enjoy. Is it worth trying out?

Dropped Right In

Emily Ravenstone flipping through her journal
Zadbox Entertainment

Dimhaven Enigmas puts you in the shoes of Emily Ravenstone, a lone woman who attempts to find her missing uncle on the mysterious island of Dimhaven. However, things aren’t as simple as they appear. Dimhaven, once a popular tourist destination, has seemingly been abandoned. Its bustling tourist industry lies in tatters. Its cargo exports have been halted. What’s most bizarre, however, is that there’s nary a soul to be found on the premises.

Thankfully, Dimhaven Enigmas wastes no time in getting started. Shortly after you’re unceremoniously dumped onto the island, you’re immediately greeted with your first puzzle: how to get past a door. We won’t spoil the solution for you here, though it’s worth noting that this first puzzle works as both a door to progression and a door to Dimhaven‘s wider systems.

Instead of progression being locked into a linear series of puzzles, you’re more than free to explore a single area and encounter multiple puzzles at once. For example, as you’re investigating the code for a lock on a lavatory door, you may also come across a generator that needs gasoline. It’s not so much a matter of getting from A to B; it’s a matter of assembling the many different pieces that form A in order to access B — which is also in pieces. It’s fun, even though such an approach might come off as confusing at first.

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This is where Emily’s journal comes into play. Not only are you able to take photos of items in the game world, like notes or relevant objects, but you’re also able to draw on said photos using her numerous pens. You can highlight key pieces of information or scrawl anything else you find necessary on your precious photographs. It’s a handy resource, and having this mechanic embedded into the game itself instead of being done externally in real life is appreciated.

The game itself is a joy to play as well. You’ll have to examine your surroundings carefully, but interactive items have plenty of highlighted elements to look out for. Even if you’re just wandering around, the game is absolutely gorgeous to look at, combining some inspired art design with warm lighting in a way that’s pleasing to all the senses.

If there’s anything to potentially complain about, some have cited a sudden spike in difficulty as a substantial downside. A puzzle involving travel visas, in particular, prompted some interesting discussion in Dimhaven‘s Steam forums, though it’s worth noting that the game’s difficulty will likely be fine-tuned in its full release. Likewise, while I didn’t have any performance issues with an Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card and an Intel i5-8400 CPU, other users have mentioned issues surrounding stuttering on higher graphics settings.

Dimhaven Enigmas Is Worth Checking Out

Still, despite these minor flaws, we’re more than happy to recommend Dimhaven Enigmas for adventure game enthusiasts. The demo is nothing short of promising, and its puzzles are a fun blend of genuine challenge and novel ingenuity. It even has functional controller support, which was a welcome surprise. Should you have the slightest interest in Dimhaven Enigmas, I recommend you give it a shot. You may end up exploring the titular island for hours without even realizing it — just like I did.

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You can check out the Dimhaven Enigmas demo on Steam. If you enjoy the demo, be sure to check out the accompanying Kickstarter page as well. As of writing, a concrete release date for the full version of Dimhaven Enigmas is currently unavailable.

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