In my PC preview of “Iris.Fall“, I pointed out that “Iris.Fall” had as much potential as it had problems. When I started the full game, I was unsure which would win out. However, After a dense but brief four hours, I feel that “Iris.Fall” outshines its dark edges.
Iris.Fall’s mysterious story unfolds as chapters are completed and puzzles are solved. Subtle foreshadowing hints at how Iris is connected to the impossible theatre that houses the game’s levels.
So between the satisfaction of solving puzzles and finding out Iris’s history, “Iris.Fall” can be rather compelling.
A large part of Iris.Fall’s appeal is its use of lights and shadows to create puzzles that are both 3D and 2D. Traveling through the shadows to retrieve an item or reach an otherwise unreachable area works as a gimmick but is admittedly less challenging than solving puzzles.
Pattern recognition, spatial awareness and patience are tested by some difficult puzzles. Careful consideration, thinking and planning can make the puzzles solvable in a few short steps (as rewarded by Steam achievements).
Though I expect and hope few first-time players to solve puzzles at a glance – half of the fun is figuring out how the puzzle works and then solving it.
Anyways, I think you get the idea. So what about the game’s chapters then? Well, most of Iris.Fall’s chapters take place in a dilapidated theatre, giving the game a gloomy atmosphere along with its diegetic soundtrack and eerie score.
As a matter of fact, one section of a later chapter will stick in my mind for some time because it is so different.
So after solving a series of puzzles, Iris is pulled into the pages of a massive book where the white, crisp pages turn to unlock new walkways.
It serves as a nice reward after solving several interconnected puzzles. When puzzles followed into one another, as opposed to being disconnected roadblocks, Iris.Fall was at its best.
So while I enjoyed most of Iris.Fall’s puzzles, a few made me seriously question if I could complete the game. For example, a puzzle that involved covering tiles with shadowy origami men kept duplicating and becoming inactive, meaning the puzzle was unable to be solved without loading a checkpoint…
And what made this even worse is the fact that there are three stages to that puzzle. In other words, each time the puzzle broke, I had to restart the checkpoint and progress to where I had been before. This quickly killed my enjoyment of “Iris.Fall” until I had pushed past the problem.
You know, there is a common saying that goes like this: “Show, Don’t Tell”. Well, “Iris.Fall” shows a lot and tells little of its own story, relying on inference and interpretation.
So while I do think this was the right choice., I also think that Iris.Fall’s story isn’t actually all that incredible. For me, the mystery was more interesting than the reveal, unexpected as it was. In other words, the journey is better than the destination.
And sadly enough, the journey isn’t very long. So just as I mentioned in the first paragraph of this review of mine, “Iris.Fall” is a just four hours long (five hours at max, if you struggle on most of the puzzles).
Furthermore, “quality, not quantity” is another phrase that comes to mind when I think of “Iris.Fall,” but there isn’t enough of either.
So Depending on how NEXT Studio price the game (you can get “Iris.Fall” for 9,99 Euros via Steam at the moment), it may be worth waiting for a sale before figuring out Iris.Fall’s puzzles and Iris’s past.
So until then, keep an eye on it.
+ Challenging puzzles
+ Excellent music
+ Mysterious story
– Occasionally obtuse puzzles
– Some gameplay bugs and visual glitches
– Short game length
Sound and Music: 4/5
Replay value: 2/5
Iris.Fall was a memorable puzzlye/adventure experience, but not one I will likely to replay again anytime soon. You see, the game’s puzzles can only be solved once…And its simple but spooky story is easily remembered.
Furthermore, since the game is so short, I can’t recommend it to everyone. However, if you are a fan of stories needing to be solved as much as puzzles, Iris.Fall might be for you.
Developer: NEXT Studio
Genre: Puzzle Adventure
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Release date: 2018-12-07
Spent time: +4 hours
Average grade internationally: TBD
PEGI age rating: +12
Price: 9,99 Euros via Steam
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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