Iris.Fall is the puzzle game you would imagine Tim Burton creating. Developed and published by NExT Studios a Chinese-based studio that focuses on exploring new playstyles and genres. This puzzle driven adventure is dark and eerie. In addition to the dark vibes of Iris.Fall, all puzzles utilize lights and shadows. Iris.Fall originally released on Nintendo Switch and PC on December 7th, 2018, and is making its way to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 8th, 2021.
Gameplay- Shadows Are Your Friend
First off, Iris.Fall’s use of shadows in its puzzles is a refreshing take on the genre. While the game does not hold your hand no puzzle felt impossible to complete. Also, a major point to not forget is that this is an adventure game. Completing puzzles unlocks more of the world along with the story. The puzzles usually require you to move objects to cause the shadows to lead to the next objective. After a path is created you become a shadow through a magical book and travel to the next area. Blending the shadow realm with the “normal” to traverse through the game.
One moment felt broken in the game and honestly, I believe it was more user error than anything else. After failing a puzzle multiple times it would get stuck and I would have to reset. This would take me to the last checkpoint to redo the puzzle. Iris.Fall is not a complicated game and is short but each puzzle makes you feel a real sense of accomplishment once completed.
Graphics- Monochromatic Dreamscape
Iris.Fall can be described as a children book’s “sunken place.” The world has a monochromatic 3D environment that was inspired by steampunk. The graphics are not groundbreaking but the lighting and creepy atmosphere create a dope experience. The world and image do most of the heavy lifting in terms of storytelling. You move about small areas that lead you from puzzle to puzzle.
Sound- Eerie Carnival Music
The music in Iris.Fall is the cherry on top of this dark fantasy world. Firstly, there are creepy fairground organs and accordions playing throughout the game. This adds to the dark twisted dreamscape of the game world. Also, it plays a critical role in the storytelling because there is no dialogue.
Story- Well…Its Dark and Sad
Honestly, I do not know much about what was going on in Iris.Fall. Towards the end, it seemed as if the protagonist was rediscovering who they are and how a traumatic moment led to their memory issues. As you progress through each area you learn that souls from children have been stolen. Not only are kids’ souls taken but they are thrown into puppets. Finding the truth is the ultimate goal of this tale and it easily went over my head.
Iris.Fall has a solid mix of good quality puzzles with the world and atmosphere to match. It is only lacking a clear understandable story that would make you care more for the protagonist. The puzzles are complicated, fair, and lead to a feeling of well-earned success. No two puzzles are the same and the music makes you feel you’re at a haunted carnival. I recommend this game to anyone who enjoys a game with solid puzzles. While having engaging puzzles but, a hard to follow story I give Iris.Fall a 7.5 out of 10.
Iris.Fall is releasing on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One January 8th, 2021
Reviewed on PlayStation 4
A code for Iris.Fall was provided by the publisher
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