NEXT Studio’s upcoming puzzle adventure game “Iris.Fall” is as promising as it is intriguing. For example, the game’s demo sure starts off with a big bang. After waking from a dream, Iris is lured by a black cat into a run-down theatre. Quickly after entering, both she and the player discover that the theatre is not all it seems…and neither is Iris.
Right off the bat, “Iris.Fall” combines “Alice In Wonderland” with 2013’s “Contrast”, allowing Iris to travel as her shadow through eerie environments backed by haunting music and unnerving ambient sounds. For a puzzle-adventurer, Iris.Fall’s puzzles are easy and its adventures are brief. As the game’s visual effects clearly mark where Iris can travel as a shadow and convenient camera angles guide your eyes to where to explore.
That’s also why I at times felt like I was following a set of clear directions, instead of having the ability to explore a dilapidated theatre as I wish. Iris.Fall’s gimmick of shadow traveling kept me interested, but I hope that the full release will offer tricker puzzles and deeper exploration.
As short as the Iris.Fall’s demo was (the demo is just 10-minutes long), it’s playtime was stretched out by slow movement and sluggish controls. Iris’s movement has the animations of a run but the speed of a walk. Having an option to sprint would make moving around larger levels less tiresome.
Furthermore, there is a noticeable delay between pressing a key and seeing a reaction brought moment to moment gameplay to a halt…And that makes the simple puzzles more irritating than enjoyable. Dragging items from Iris’ inventory is particularly unnaturally feeling. So if a mouse option is included in the full release, it will make using objects a smoother experience.
Another thing that prevented enjoyable movement at times was the many invisible walls that protect Iris from falls. I mean, sure. The walls is preventing Iris from falling to her death and reduces tension and preventing Iris from dropping down a ledge. However, in the long run, it only pads out gameplay and breaks immersion.
Other than that, the tension that I felt because of Iris.Fall’s spooky design, well…It was soon killed off by Iris.Fall’s superfluous design. Nevertheless, despite a few dark spots, “Iris.Fall” still shines through most of its flaws. So I truly hope that its full release will shine just as bright, if not even brighter (only time will tell, but at least “Iris.Fall”is off to a good start).
As for here and now though (as it stands with the demo of “Iris.Fall”), “Iris.Fall” is in need of a handful of improvements and fine-tunings. So NEXT Studio sure has a lot to prove with the full version of the game. In other words, it would be wise to wait for some reviews to drop in before you pick up the game on its release day (which is on the 7th of December for PC).
+ Spooky art style
+ Interesting shadow mechanic
+ Creepy atmosphere
+ Iris is a really cool protagonist
– Delayed controls
– Low skill puzzles
– Intrusive invisible walls
– The demo is very short
Sound and music: 4/5
Replay value: 2/5
NEXT Studio got something really promising and interesting in the making with their upcoming puzzle/adventure game “Iris.Fall”. However, the demo of “Iris.Fall” does suffer from a handful of flaws. So only time will tell if NEXT Studio will be able to sort everything out in time for December release of “Iris.Fall”.
Developer: NEXT Studio
Genre: Puzzle Adventure
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Release date: 2018-12-07
Spent time: + 20 minutes
Average grade internationally: TBD
PEGI age rating: +12
Price: TBD via Steam
Robin Ek – Editor
The review code was provided by NEXT Studio.
The Gaming Ground
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