A Dance of Light and Shadow- Iris.Fall Review

They say black cats are omens for bad things to come. I say don’t trust them completely, because like most cats they break things and tear up your furniture, but they shouldn’t be feared either because they’re just as lovable as other cats. I own a couple of black cats myself, so that comes from experience. That being said, this black cat leads a little girl into a crazy, beautiful world of light, shadow, and for some reason, eyeballs. Welcome to Iris.Fall.

Story/Gameplay

The game starts with a dream- the little girl’s dream. You wake from the seemingly unconnected series of images to find a black cat at your window. You get the inclination to follow the cat down the alley, so you do. It leads you to what seems to be an old house, like something out of a Tim Burton movie. You can see the opening sequence to the game here.

Following a black cat down an alley is a gamble

Upon entering the house, you follow the cat and walk down a staircase, but the stairs have fallen through in the middle. Using a book, you become a shadow and traverse the gap by using the shadow on the wall cast by an unseen light source. Using the book again, you return to your corporeal form, and continue on into the next room. This interplay between light and shadow to solve puzzles is the core of Iris.Fall.

Continuing through the house, room by room, floor by floor, you complete a myriad of puzzles. These puzzles range from a Rubik’s cube with light beams, to creating puppets, and even traversing an M.C. Esther-style stairs painting in the form of a book. To me, these puzzles are wonderfully thought out, and while they do require some thinking, they’re not too tough to figure out. You can check out a sample of the puzzles and gameplay here.

Use the shadows

The story is told in-between the chapters in a series of cutscenes, and during the chapters as you complete the puzzles. They’re told as pictures, and there is no voice acting in the game at all. I don’t want to spoil anything, players should experience this for themselves.

Setting/Sound

The juxtaposition of light and dark, shine and shadow, make this game a wonderful piece of art in its own right. The Burton-esque setting makes it even more captivating in my opinion, and the minimal soundscape adds to it. Honestly, when I got this game, I just kept playing until I got to a point where I had to stop and sleep because I had to be at work early the next day. Again, there is no voice acting in the game, just minimal sound effects and ambient music. I think this adds to the game because it allows you to solely focus on the puzzles and lets you think about what is going on during the cutscenes, make your own determinations.

Irises are everywhere, just watching

Verdict 8/10

Iris.Fall is a piece of art, plain and simple. Some of the puzzles can be a bit confusing at first, especially if you overthink things like I do, but once you figure it out they’re not too bad. The controls are a lot better than they were when I wrote the preview article on this game, and the UI looks really nice in the menu screens. I recommend this game if you like puzzle games, or artistic games.

The game is available on Steam for $11.99 USD and is published and developed by NEXT Studios.

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-V

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