Iris.Fall is a new and beautiful indie Gothic puzzle adventure game by NEXT Studios and Indie Publisher Zodiac Interactive that will tickle your eyes with its amazing art work and your brain with its puzzles. What sets Iris.Fall apart from most puzzle games these days is its sheer simplicity and complexity at the same time.
In Iris.Fall, you play as a little girl Iris who wakes up after a dream only to find herself in an abandoned theatre full of mind twisting puzzles. Her only lead in the game is a black cat who is sowing her the way forward. The cat guides Iris throughout the game but she only shows the path that is the right one.
How Iris gets access to that path is entirely up to Iris to solve the puzzles using light and shadows. To get to the next area, Iris will need to line up different items together so that the shadows create a path to the exit and then she must use a book which allows her to reach the shadow realm where she is haunted by a bat.
To get back to her own reality, she must use another book at the end of the shadow path. Just like her, the cat can also enter the shadow realm where it is sometimes attacked by the bat. The early puzzles of the game are excellent and they really set up a pace for the later puzzles of the game which are really hard if you are not a true puzzle lover.
The game combines both 3D and 2D elements in a perfect balance. The shadow realm is in 2D while the normal realm is played in 3D and Iris is free to move around the environments which some cheeky achievements hidden such as knocking out buckets while exploration. It all adds up to the overall unique experience of the game.
The controls of the game are very simple as well. You use WASD to control Iris and use the mouse to interact with different items on the screen. There is a small backpack icon in the lower-right corner of the screen which will show you all the useful items that you have for solving puzzles. Apart from that, there is no other buttons or commands in the game.
Coming to the art style of the game, there are only two colors used in the visuals and they are black and white. Apart from that, highlights are done by light and shadow. This creates a truly unique monochrome art style which really indulges you in the game world. It looks very pretty and reminds you that games do not have to rely on heavy visuals to look beautiful. Sometimes simple is the best way to go.
The gameplay is pretty smooth and I did not encounter a single bug during my playthrough of the game. If you are good at solving puzzles then you can easily complete Iris.Fall in around 2 hours or so but since I am not too good at it, it took me way long than that to even complete half of the game but I am not complaining here.
The puzzles of the game are unique and some of the puzzles specially will have you pulling your hairs out. It is not a game for casuals. This I can say for sure. You must have a mind for puzzle solving with as little assistance as possible. The game does very little to explain about what you need to do to advance so in most cases, it will be just you against the puzzle.
The cat will keep you company throughout the game and will be your only guide in the game. Some of the puzzles would have been really easy if there were additional controls in the game but since they are not so even simple steps will require you to do some thinking.
There were times when I just wanted to stop the game but the beautiful visuals and excellent score accompanying them kept me wanting for more. The narrative is also simple yet keeps you glued to find out more about Iris’s past.
The only negative thing about Iris.Fall I could think of is that it is not for the casual gamer. The puzzles of the game are not easy and they will really test your patience unless you are watching a YouTube video for hints. If you are, you are not playing how this beautiful Gothic puzzler how it is meant to be played.
Iris.Fall offers beautiful art style, excellent audio with simple enough controls and much brain tickling. If you are looking for a solid puzzle game that will really put your brain to the test, this game is for you. If you are a casual gamer who is not really good at solving puzzles, this game is not for you. It is a puzzle game at its core and it will not forget to remind each time you are stuck at solving one. My recommendation? If you are stuck and want to quit the game, do not. You will not regret it later.
Final Score 8.5/10