A girl wakes up just in time to see a black cat leave her room, only to stop at the threshold and beckon her to follow. Doing so, the little girl dives into a world of adventure, bizarre rooms and curious contraptions playing tricks with light and shadow. This is Iris.Fall.
I am a sucker for a good puzzle game. Point & Click adventures are, of course, my favourite but it only takes some clever puzzle design to have me hooked and grinning like an idiot. And I have to admit a fascination with light and darkness puzzles, particularly the clever use of shadows. So, even with Iris.Fall being something of a hybrid between 3D WASD exploration and a point & click adventure, it was the puzzle design that ultimately hooked me and kept me playing all the way to the end in one sitting.
- Just the right amount: Iris.Fall is rather minimalistic when it comes to music, but what it does have it uses quite well, often the melodies consisting of short sombre melodies, almost hums, accentuated by a single chime. I’ve been a fan of this sort of ambient music ever since I played The Room, and Iris.Fall sets its dark and mysterious tone as that other series of adventures.
- Great Décor: I love the colour palette chosen for Iris.Fall’s adventure: black and white. I find that nothing better expresses light and darkness and puzzles using shadows than simple monochromatic art styles, and it fits the dark themes of this game perfectly. What I like the most is that the adventure begins in colour, but as soon as you take your first steps the colours fade dramatically, ripped from the environment by an unseen force, trapping you in a colourless world.
- Darkly Awesome: Iris. Fall is has some dark themes along with its puzzling, as you uncover the truth about our protagonist and her relationship to an old woman who ran a marionette theatre. The adventure through the game is incredibly surreal and while joy is not really part of the game, I could not hide my sheer awe at the spectacle before my eyes. It was black and white, using shadows and light and still, it evoked a sense of pure innocent wonder.
- Too many training wheels: Iris.Fall feels like it keeps the introduction level puzzles for too long. It’s not a long game in itself so I would have liked a spike in the puzzle complexity from the second room onwards. Sadly, the difficulty curve is far too gentle and the developers played it safe, rather than really push their puzzle design to the limit.