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Video Game / ENIGMA: An Illusion Named Family

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ENIGMA: An Illusion Named Family is a commercial RPG Maker game that was developed by AV Media Lab and released for PC through Steam in 2015. It tells the story of Yoo Minhyuk, who lost his father in a tragic accident. Blaming himself for the incident, he's left to brood over his guilt while the rest of his family struggles with the loss as well. His mother tries filling the void by collecting artwork and holding fancy parties, while his siblings feud over matters of inheritance.

Then Minhyuk wakes up from a bad nightmare only to plunge headlong into another one. His home has been plunged into a blackout, with a merciless killer stalking the halls. If he wants to have any chance of surviving, Minhyuk must explore the darkened mansion and figure out the truth behind what's going on before it's too late.


Resource management plays a critical role in ENIGMA. Minhyuk's trauma left him with a deep-rooted fear of the dark; in order to keep himself sane, as well as make his way safely around the manor, he relies on lighting matches. Matches also help him find important items along the way. But there's a finite amount of matches to be found in the manor, and lighting them also makes it easier for the killer to see where he is...


This game contains examples of:

  • A House Divided: Being trapped in the mansion with an unknown murderer wandering about doesn't exactly help the underlying tension, paranoia and bad blood between the Yoo family.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Minhyuk's mother did not take losing her husband well, and he knows that she blames him for his father's death. After all, she tells him as much practically every night...
    • Poor Yun-a's birth parents aren't exactly prizewinners, for that matter. They only contacted her so that they could exploit her being adopted by a rich family in order to settle their own debts.
  • Action Commands: Appear at various points, such as unscrewing a vent cover, moving a clock or evading an attack. Frequently combined with a very limited amount of time to react.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Minhyuk can end up having to go through one or two. On certain paths, this is part of an Unexpected Gameplay Change where you have to jump over gaps, fight rats and avoid steam vents.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Minho and Samoon are both this towards Minhyuk, while Minwoo is more of a Big Brother Mentor.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Items can be hidden just about anywhere. While important items can be found by lighting matchsticks, this doesn't highlight everything. The in-game manual encourages checking everything in hopes of finding more matches and other useful items, like chocolate bars, carrots and earpicks.
  • And This Is for...: In one route, Minwoo beats up his prime suspect for the killer, listing everyone who's died.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: In one ending, Yoo Minho makes one of these to a dying Yun-a. She tells him she doesn't love him, and he admits he already knew.
  • Anyone Can Die: Depending upon the player's choices.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: "Project Enigma has succeeded."
  • Bear Trap: Appear as a hazard in certain areas.
  • Big Bad: The killer who trapped the Yoo family inside the mansion and is trying to murder them all. It is eventually revealed to be Minhyuk's other personality, who already murdered the family long ago, and is working with the Mad Scientist Chief Choi, head of Project Enigma, to perform a Split-Personality Takeover.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Minho has looked after Yun-a ever since they were little.
  • Big Eater: Mr. Steward is one, constantly offering his charges snacks as well.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: There's a ton of issues going on under one roof, even without a murderer running around.
  • Blackmail: This is how Yoo Samoon chose to deal with learning that one of their siblings was adopted and has been secretly sending money to their birth parents.
  • Bookends: The game starts with Minhyuk flashing back to nearly drowning. In one ending, he escapes the house only to commit suicide by drowning.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Minhyuk finds the gramoxone, the game presents an option for him to either simply take it, or to drink it. He reacts accordingly.
    Minhyuk: You drink it! This game is over if I drink. What are you thinking of?
  • Butt-Monkey: Minhyuk is pushed around and bullied by everyone in the family, except for Minwoo, who acts as a mentor to him, and Mr. Steward, who treats him as a grandson.
  • Cassandra Truth: Naturally, any confessions Minhyuk makes about his visions are met with skepticism.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Cheun complains that she needs a cigarette.
  • Cool Old Guy: Mr. Steward, who has worked for the family for ages. Then the True End's reveals he's a major badass too.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Zig-Zagged. While the killer is using the cover of darkness to commit their crimes, it also makes it hard for the killer to see Minhyuk. This helps produce hiding spaces that wouldn't work so well if it was lighter out — as long as the killer doesn't have you in their sights when you try using them.
  • Dead All Along: In the True Ending path the entire family except for Minhyuk was actually murdered a while ago... possibly by Minhyuk himself. Minhyuk was hallucinating them the entire time.
  • Deal with the Devil: In the True Ending route, Chief Choi agreed to help Minhyuk's evil split personality take over his body by subverting Project Enigma. Why did he agree to this? For fame and fortune, as well as For Science!
  • The Dog Bites Back: Yun-a has been mistreated by Samoon and Cheun so much that she snaps and kills Samoon in two of the three routes and Cheun in one of them.
  • Downer Ending: No matter what you do, Minhyuk either dies or suffers a Split Personality Takeover.
  • Driven to Suicide: A few Bad Endings see Minhyuk killing himself out of despair. So the two 'main' endings. In the True route, his split personality is specifically trying to avoid this through Project Enigma.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After losing her husband, the mother takes comfort in lavish parties and drinking.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The reveal in the true ending - the rest of the family, save for Mr. Steward and Minhyuk, are dead.
  • Evil All Along: Minwoo and Yun-a pull this in one ending. So does Cheun, to a degree, but she is dead before she can fully display the evil.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Thanks to how dark the manor is, it's possible for Minhyuk to hide just by crouching in shadowed areas, letting the murderer walk right past him.
  • Fainting Seer: Minhyuk's hallucinations tend to leave him reeling and dizzy, with a splitting headache.
  • The Fashionista: Cheun; she even has her own store that sells clothes.
  • Financial Abuse: Minho has been blocking his siblings' attempts to claim their inheritance and wants to keep full control of the family's assets, claiming that this is the only way to hold them together. Needless to say, this has only added to the tension between them. There's also the little matter of their mother frittering the family fortune away.
  • Flashback: Much of the story is told via flashbacks, as Minhyuk comes across things that remind him of past events and experiences strange hallucinations.
  • Foreshadowing: Well, first off, the title of the game.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Minhyuk's father made one when he saved him from drowning, despite not being a strong swimmer himself.
    • In one route, Mr. Steward pushes Minhyuk out of the way of a closing shutter. He also sacrifices himself to break Minhyuk out of the experiment in the True Ending.
  • Hidden Eyes: Appear on several character portraits; most don't bother changing their position, so their hairstyle doesn't hide the sudden blank space where their eyes used to be at all.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: One of the main endings reveals that Mother's habit of sleepwalking into Minhyuk's room to strangle him backfired when she entered Samoon's room by mistake. Unlike the guilt-ridden Minhyuk, Samoon wasn't used to being attacked and fought back.
  • Insecurity System: On the recommendation of a friend, Minhyuk's mother recently had a new security system installed. Its primary function is completely locking down the whole place — not the best move when the threat's already inside... and thanks to the blackout, they can't open the shutters themselves.
  • It's All My Fault: Minhyuk blames himself for all of his family's problems.
  • Jerkass: Samoon and Cheun easily. With Samoon manipulating and molesting Yun-a, while Cheun not only knows about this but helps Samoon
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Samoon is killed, Cheun immediately suspects Yun-a and Minhyuk, as they were the first to find Minho wounded, and the ones to trap Samoon in the kitchen where he was murdered. She also mentions that they may have been after the father's inheritance. Depending on the ending, she can actually be right - in one ending, Minhyuk really was killing the family, though he was unaware of it and it wasn't for the inheritance. In another, Yun-a was after the inheritance, and traps Minho, Minhyuk, and Mr. Steward in the empty safe as a result.
  • Karma Houdini: In the True Ending Path the evil Minhyuk personality succeeds in his goal of erasing his other half. The game ends with him triumphantly watching the mansion burn as he prepares to go out in the world with the entirety of what is left of his family's fortune at his disposal.
  • Killed Off for Real: The whole family, save for Minhyuk and Mr. Steward, as revealed in the True Ending.
  • Kubrick Stare: Samoon couples this with a hunched stance, Creepy Shadowed Undereyes, and a tendency to keep one hand close to his face.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The in-game manual can be found in Minhyuk's room, and is presented as the manual for a game called 'Enigma'. Minhyuk doesn't recognize the name and isn't sure where it came from, but comments about how it's important to remember the controls anyway if he ever wants to play.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: While you can have others accompany Minhyuk (and crowd into the same hiding spots), your family members often prefer splitting up to sticking together.
  • Liquid Courage: Drinking wine helps recover Minhyuk's Fear Gauge significantly.
  • Love Makes You Crazy and/or Evil:
    • Losing her husband caused Minhyuk's mother to steadily slide downhill, seeking comfort in expensive artwork, lavish parties, drinking, and blaming Minhyuk for the accident. She also developed a bad habit of sleep-strangling her youngest son.
    • Yoo Minho has improper feelings for his sister Yun-a, and falls into complete despair after learning about her betrayal in one route.
    • Yun-a herself also falls headlong into this during the same route. So does Yoo Minwoo, for that matter.
  • Mind Screwdriver: Part of the climax of the second ending has the mastermind explain to Minhyuk exactly how everything played out, including a blow-by-blow summary of who killed who, who attacked each other, when and why.
  • Multiple Endings: Three 'main' endings and a bevy of Bad Ends. The main ones are the only ones that trigger the credits, and seeing the first two is required before you can access the True Ending.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: One early Bad Ending sees Minhyuk freaking out after realizing he accidentally killed Yun-a after mistaking her for the murderer. This leads to him committing suicide out of grief.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Samoon insists that his company's troubles were all due to a single employee's mistake, and that he shouldn't be blamed for one of his patients dying.
    • Yun-a gets upset at Minhyuk and calls him a violent brute for defending himself when she tries to kill him.
  • No Sympathy:
    • Aside from Minwoo, the rest of Minhyuk's family doesn't seem to care that much about his trauma. At best, they tend to acknowledge it in a "Man up and get over it already!" sort of way, claiming that he's disrespecting their father's sacrifice.
    • Yun-a constantly criticises and complains about Minhyuk's efforts, even while expecting him to put himself at great risk for her sake.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Turns out that Yun-a is actually adopted. This was kept secret, enabling Samoon to blackmail her with it. Minho also uses this to justify his attraction to her.
  • Notice This: Lighting matchsticks causes important items to sparkle, making them much easier to find.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: You may leave one area that the killer's roaming through only to find them waiting for you on the next screen.
  • Omega Ending: In order to have the opportunity to make the choices required to reach the True Ending, you have to collect all the pieces of a hidden photograph, then reach the two other Main Endings.
  • Plot Coupon: In order to access the emergency override for the security system, you have to find special medallions.
  • Primal Fear: The accident left Minhyuk with a terrible fear of the dark. Naturally, the mansion was plunged into a blackout, and he has to rely on a limited supply of matches in order to see.
  • Puzzle Boss: There are a few encounters where you need to interact with some feature in the room, such as lighting candles, in order to deal with the threat.
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: Deconstructed. While Minhyuk wants to save his shattered family, the crisis doesn't stop them from sniping pettily at each other. One route ultimately reveals that the mastermind was trying to create one of these, only to watch it spiral out of control because the fractures were far worse than he realized.
  • The Reliable One: Minho, the eldest of Minhyuk's siblings, has strived to be this after his father's death, keeping the family together by any means necessary...
  • Resources Management Gameplay: There's only a limited amount of matches around for Minhyuk to find. Burn through them too quickly and Minhyuk won't be able to keep his fear in check or find important items.
  • Retail Therapy: Another method Minhyuk's mother used to cope with her husband's death, which is why their manor is filled with so much artwork.
  • Rich Bitch: Cheun is one of the more unlikeable characters in the game and is Minhyuk's sister. But with the reveal that her shop is doing poorly and their mother squandered their fortune away, this trope is averted for the rich part.
  • Sanity Meter: The longer Minhyuk stays in the dark, the more his Fear gauge lowers. Let it drain completely and he panics, turning uncontrollable. If he runs into the killer in this state, it's an instant game over.
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: While discussing how somebody could have died by electrocuting themselves, Mr. Steward compares it to barbecue. He then starts waxing harmonic about types of barbecue, much to Minhyuk's dismay.
  • Sinister Silhouettes:
    • The murderer always appears as one, with only their eyes visible.
    • This also applies to anyone that Minhyuk hasn't identified yet. One scene has him realize as much when he Jump Scares himself by not recognizing his own reflection in a darkened mirror.
  • Ship Tease: As odd as it is there seems to be some between Minhyuk and Yun-a as Minhyuk learns early on that Yun-a isn't biologically related to him. Yun-a is the character Minhyuk teams up the most with and their relationship improves no matter which ending it is and she always hesitates to kill him. In fact in the True End, she even asked him to run away with her leaving the rest of their siblings including Minwoo to their fates.
  • Shout-Out: When Minhyuk finds an apple in a bowl of fruit, he wonders if he should eat it, claiming that he should leave it for Ryuk.
  • Sleepwalking: Their mother doesn't just walk in their sleep; they also try to choke her son.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: This is the goal of Project Enigma. Minhyuk's second personality wanted the first one gone, and offered to be the subject of Chief Choi's experiment to make it happen. In the True End, it works.
  • Stealth-Based Game: In addition to hiding and running away from the killer, you have to be careful while exploring. There's always a risk of knocking something over or making noise while inspecting it, which can draw unwanted attention.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: There are a few times where thou must do things that seem stupid or contradictory in order to progress, such as trusting a bloody hallucination over your sister.
  • Succession Crisis: While their father intended to make Minho his heir, after his untimely death this fell into dispute. Mainly since their mother refused to officially recognize Minho.
  • Survivor Guilt: Minhyuk blames himself for his father's death. Watching his family quarrel and fall apart afterwards hasn't helped.
  • Sweet Tooth: One of the ways that Minhyuk can restore his Fear gauge is by eating chocolate bars.
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • Minho always takes a knife to the gut in order to protect Minhyuk.
    • In one ending route, this happens again, thanks to Minho jumping between Minhyuk and Yun-a.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: The True Ending path. Minhyuk's family is Dead All Along and were never really there with him.
  • Together in Death: In one ending, a despairing Minho combines this with Taking the Bullet.
  • Triang Relations: Thanks to the Not Blood Siblings deal, we have a complicated situation with Yun-a. She fell in love with Minwoo; however, Samoon forced her to exploit Minho's feelings for her.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Different minigames may be thrown at the player with little to no warning, such as:
    • A 'balance' minigame where you have to keep the pointer centered, representing Minhyuk staying silent to avoid alerting the killer to his presence and triggering an instant Game Over.
    • Hitting buttons in a certain order to simulate turning screws.
    • Mashing buttons and 'balancing' the pointer in an increasingly smaller space in order to tip a statue over without making it fall on you.
    • On one route, the final boss battles are presented like a single-round Fighting Game.
    • In the True Ending route, you take over Mr. Steward as he fights his way out.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Minhyuk, who doesn't recall that he murdered his whole family due to his dissociative identity disorder, and who falsifies the events of the first two endings to cope with it.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Minho's desire to keep his family together leads to him trying to force his will on everyone by seizing control of the family fortune. His attempts to help Minhyuk through his grief by coldly telling him to honor their father's sacrifice only fuel Minhyuk's self-loathing.
    • Yoo Minwoo turns out to be one in the route where he's the mastermind. According to them, they never wanted anyone to die — that was an unexpected side-effect of attempting to invoke a Relationship-Salvaging Disaster.
  • Wham Line: "Project Enigma has succeeded". To make things worse, this is the last line in the entire game.
  • What the Hell, Player?: If you try drinking the Gramoxone, Minhyuk outright refuses and tells you it'd lead to a game over.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: In the True Ending Path, Minhyuk. Years of abuse caused him to developed a malevolent split personality that may or may not have murdered his entire family.
  • You Should Have Died Instead:
    • Minhyuk's own mother wishes that he'd died instead of her husband, blaming him for all of their troubles.
    • In one of the 'false endings', a grief stricken Yoo Minho declares this, convinced that Minhyuk was the murderer all along.