Mateusz Skutnik and Jacek Witczynski's point-and-click puzzle adventure Eien is the sort of game that doesn't so much drop you in as plant its foot firmly on your bottom and shove, then lean back and fold its arms expectantly while you're left staring around in confusion. You find yourself standing in front of a towering blue... maze... thing... on a plain bridge floating in the middle of darkness. Which, the intro informs you, is all you can really remember before a pulse of light. To play, all you need to do is click to move around and interact when the cursor changes. Items will appear in your inventory at the bottom of the screen, and when you click one, you can then try to use it wherever you like. Your progress is saved automatically for you to come back to if you like, but don't expect any real help beyond that. If you want to progress and find Eien's secrets, you'll need to look everywhere and try everything. Clues (and viewpoints) are hidden where you least expect them. Hope you have your hmmmmm warmed up and ready to go.
If you know Mateusz Skutnik's work, then you know he could basically teach a master class on atmosphere and immersion, and Eien practically drips with it. The setting feels oppressive and ominous, aided by a funky, otherworldly soundtrack, and the further you go, the more mystified you become. While the design is appealing with layers of structures and colour, some of the objects might blend a bit too well into the background for some players with so many saturated hues. There's not a lot of feedback to be had when you're experimenting with solutions to the many puzzles that will bar your way, and with some interactive zones hidden in locations that aren't indicated visually in the slightest, it can be easy to get stuck, and thus frustrated, fairly early on. It makes you feel very primitive, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, poking and prodding and scouring every nook and cranny. It actually reminds me a little of the Worldgate games in that sense. It feels like a true maze, a labyrinth, and exploring it gives a great sense of discovering the unknown that not many games can manage, even if it's not as long as some. Finding your way through will be tricky, but the best things usually are.