I’m Back and I Want to Talk About Enigmo

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Hey Lev Grossman, you’re a big rock star. You spend weeks on the road, cruising from juke joints to road houses to small independent bookstores, reading your work to literally dozens of listless, distracted fans. The pressure must be intense, man. How do you keep your head together?

I’ll tell you: Enigmo.

Enigmo is an iPhone game (OK, I play it on my iPod Touch). It’s basically a little physics puzzle. You have a kind of, let’s call it a vessel, that drips, endlessly drips, water droplets. You have to manipulate the droplets with various implements — boards, springy pads, sponges, a kind of railgun accelerator, etc. — so that they end up in a matching target vessel. It looks like this:

Enigmo, you are my rock

Enigmo, you are my rock

But that image doesn’t really convey the poetry of Enigmo. The action takes place in what appears to be a vast circular metal cylinder — perhaps a rusting relic of some past great industrial age. There’s no music. No humans appear. You get extra points for working fast, but there’s no time limit. The droplets drop for no purpose, endlessly, echoing in the stillness. It’s kind of melancholy and hypnotic.

Did I mention all the drugs I took on tour. Drugs helped too. Drugs and Enigmo.