Iris.Fall Indie Game Review – First Sip
Iris.Fall is an indie puzzle adventure game with an emphasis on light and shadow. Developed and Published by NEXT Studios.
The story in Iris.Fall is handled very interestingly. From what I experienced in my time with the game there was no actual dialogue. The entire story plays out in visuals, with Iris taking a journey through light and shadow as she learns more about herself.
After awakening from a dream, Iris follows a black cat into a dilapidated theater, traveling back and forth through a strange labyrinth of light and shadow. As the story unfolds, Iris begins to realize that everything in this theater seems to have some kind of hidden connection to herself.
These elements and more make the story of the game feel almost like a mixture of Alice in Wonderland, Coraline, Contrast, and LIMBO with a smattering of Brother Grimm and Disney fairy tales.
Iris.Fall uses a minimalistic monochromatic color scheme. Most things in the game are black, white or a shade of grey. However, there are occasionally yellow, orange and even blue shades.
Character design ties into the art style, which is as mentioned in the story section somewhat of an amalgam of various properties. Iris is a very Alice like figure, there are mannequins and button-eyed children, there is a magical cat and a bat shadow that flies around. The game also flips between 2D and 3D both frequently and seamlessly.
Overall, the look of the game is very storybooklike and is one of the strongest aspects. Iris.Fall can be a real visual treat.
The sound in the game is also fairly minimal, with most of the game taking place with either silence or relaxing background music. Occasionally though things come to a head and the music reflects this. In particular, there are moments where carnival music plays and it is quite wonderful, pairing very well with the art style.
Sound effects there is a lot of grinding of gears, shifting of platforms, magical shimmers and so on. When paired with the music and the visuals it coalesces into a somewhat magical but creepy experience, again referring back to elements of Alice in Wonderland or perhaps more apt in this case Coraline.
Gameplay in Iris.Fall, is mostly puzzle-based, you will alternate between various forms of puzzles, a lot of shadow world Contrast style puzzles but also things like a simplified Rubix Cube and memory tests. You control Iris and walk through various rooms to find and solve puzzles, Iris cannot jump nor can she run so most of the time you will be casually strolling to the next puzzle. Due to the lack of dialogue in the game, none of the puzzles are really explained, most of them you can either immediately or with a little messing around work out the end goal though. All puzzles have solutions and these vary from task to task in difficulty.
Iris has an inventory system, but from what I played the inventory is only used during the current or next puzzle so once you find something you will have to use it shortly after in a specific situation.
There does not appear to be a way to lose the game, you either solve the puzzle or give up. Without timers or incorrect move restrictions, a lot of the puzzles end up as trial and error or just fumbling around until you get it. This would make it easy enough for most children to play, maybe with occasional parental guidance on some of the trickier parts.
Iris.Fall isn’t a particularly long game, nor is it particularly challenging, but it is an enjoyable experience, there is some replayability to the puzzles and you can select a chapter once you have beaten it to hone your skills or just try again. The visuals, music, and story are all worth experiencing as well. A fun and creative game that you can pick up and put down at your leisure with no real issues (outside of progress in a current puzzle). Somewhat of a triumph of visual storytelling.
In Coffee Terms
In coffee terms, Iris.Fall is like being served an unknown coffee by a silent barista. They have provided the elements but ultimately it is up to you to identify the flavor. It may look like a standard cup of coffee (albeit a very nice one), but there are subtleties to the flavor that it may take time to fully uncover and appreciate.
One half of the YouTube brother duo, The Game Bros with Sirhc and Ar0n, Chris is a lover of games, movies and other great things you can do from home.
Coffee of choice: I like the sweeter kinds, mixed with chocolate, coconut, caramel etc. but I won’t turn down a flat white or a straight black either.