Iris.Fall – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle Adventure Game
Developer: NEXT Studios
Publisher: NEXT Studios
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Iris.Fall – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Stunning visuals, Fun puzzles
Bad: No defined hint system
User Score
9.6
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (5 votes cast)

Shadow and light is a theme often explored in video games, but most of the time not quite in the literal sense as it is in Iris.Fall. This interesting little puzzle game by NEXT Studios delves into a monochrome world of darkness and light and uses this to their advantage to stand out from the increasing number of puzzle games flooding our market these days.

Story

Our protagonist is a nameless little girl, though going by the title she might actually be named Iris. This girl has a nightmare one night, only to wake up anxious and disturbed. She sees a cat and follows it, and like in most fairy tale-like stories, it leads her on a journey full of magic and enchantment. As is the case with a lot of puzzle games, the story in Iris.Fall seems to take a backseat in favor of great visuals and engaging gameplay. The actual plot is revealed slowly throughout the game, but never actually made abundantly clear, leaving a lot to be inferred by the player himself out of the bits and pieces of information we do get.

Graphics

The visuals are a large part of what makes Iris.Fall such a special experience. First of are the cutscenes, while only few and far between, they are animated beautifully in an anime-esque style that is very nice to look at. The game itself takes place in a 3D style that also looks a bit like a Japanese cartoon. What is more important though is the brilliant use of color. While most of the game is set in a monochrome environment, meaning everything is in grey-scale, the game uses light and dark tones to create definition. Sometimes they use a pop of color to make something really stand out from the backgrounds, which makes the game look very nice in general.

Sound

The music in Iris.Fall is subtle and enchanting. Like the story and graphics, it’s mostly reminiscent of a fairy tale. For example, there is a certain piece of carnival music that sounds especially haunting. There are some nice sound-effects mixed in, when you pull levers or push buttons they make the appropriate noises.There is not a line of spoken dialogue in sight in the entire game, so no voice acting either.

Gameplay

As already mentioned above, Iris.Fall is an puzzle adventure game. Most of the game is spent solving various types of puzzles. These puzzles are very diverse and entertaining, ranging from simple ones where one needs to match shapes or remember codes, to very difficult ones, like a Rubik’s cube-like contraption. The diversity in these puzzles is also one of the strengths of Iris.Fall, as it keeps the game from becoming boring or monotonous.

At the same time the game doesn’t allow you to skip puzzles or even give you many hints to complete them. That is to say, there is a hint system you can activate in the main menu, but even when turned on that doesn’t seem to change very much. As a result you might find yourself getting stuck quite easily, with no in-game help at all.

In-between puzzles you will spend time walking around and picking up stuff to put in your inventory, to be used in later puzzles. There never is an issue of figuring out where to go, most locations are pretty small and the game is very linear, steering you in the right direction. Mostly you’ll find yourself in a room with one entry point and one exit, with a puzzle in the room to solve to open that particular exit. Some larger rooms come up later, but even then the game usually makes sure there is only one way to go.

Most of the puzzles have a theme of darkness and light, or more accurately: shadow and light. Through the use of a magic book, you can transport yourself into the world of shadows, becoming 2D on the wall, and use this mechanic to reach places you normally wouldn’t be able to. Moving objects in the real world and shifting their shadows into different shapes, for example by putting them closer to a light source and enlarging their shadow, makes new paths in this shadow world. While this type of puzzle solving isn’t used constantly, its smart utilization makes Iris.Fall stand out among similar puzzle games as having a unique mechanic that makes the gameplay equally unique.

Conclusion

Iris.Fall is a mystery. It’s vague storyline will keep you guessing, but its stunning visuals and interesting gameplay make you want to keep playing regardless. While some puzzles might be deceptively hard, and have you stuck on them for a while, ultimately every puzzle is solvable and their diversity keep you engaged for a long time. Definitely the kind of game you want to complete in one go.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (5 votes cast)
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Iris.Fall - Review, 9.6 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
Jessica
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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