Iris.Fall Hands-On: Shadow Play Works Quite Well in Kinda Goth-Land

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Based on a short demo was only supposed to be about ten minutes long (I was told ten, but I lingered about half an hour or so just to check out every nook and cranny because the level of detail is remarkable), Iris.Fall is shaping up to be a lovely little indie sleeper worth a buy. Developer NEXT Studio has cooked up a charmingly creepy puzzle adventure with beautiful visuals and an intriguing light/dark gameplay element fans of the somewhat forgotten (but memorable) Wii game Lost in Shadow will appreciate.  The demo features an early taste of the full game’s mix of environmental and other puzzles that revolve around Iris’ ability to manipulate light and shadow to progress through areas.

 

 

While simple to pick up, solving puzzles here makes for some fun brain work right from the beginning. Careful scouring of each room for areas where Iris’ powers to be used also reveals objects that can be manipulated or collected to be used with other elements. Foe example, in one room, a pair of marionettes is required to unlock a certain door, but you’ll need to dip into the shadows and light areas, moving things around to create a ramp on one side and then the other to nab each figure. Once they’re acquired, placing  them in the correct spots, then rotating their parts will form a “key” of sorts that allows passage into a new location.

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“I was the puppet, I was the puppet!” A puzzle, in progress (and five points if you get the song reference I made).

There’s no combat here, so this seems to be a game that can be fully enjoyed by players into puzzle adventures with beautiful monochrome visuals, a slightly off-kilter tone and thematic elements described as, well, just allow me to be a bit lazy today and pop this long quote down below:

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What tine is it? Time to solve another neat puzzle! No, that mechanical mask-clad thing won’t eat you. I think…

Story background:
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.

Key Features
• Unique monochrome art style
The game’s visuals use a pure black-and-white cartoon style, relying on the transition between light and shadow to create a distinct experience, both exquisite and visually impactful.

• Fusing gameplay and the “light & shadow” system
The concept of “light and shadow” runs throughout the design of the game’s art, story, and puzzles. By switching between light and shadow, players can pass through the two realities, experiencing the unique interlacing of black and white, light and shadow, 2D and 3D.

• Immersive story experience
Become fully immersed in the plot through the stylized and suspenseful atmosphere of the setting and story. Progress in the game feels more like the player’s spiritual exploration.

 

While it’s set for a November release on Steam and it looks as if PS4 and Xbox One versions will also be part of the plan (What, no Switch version? I guess we shall see!) , I’d add this to that too long list of indies that tap into a slightly creepier vein where you’re not playing half under a blanket watching for jump scares at all, but enjoying a kind of goth-like setting and grinning away as you solve those puzzles and get deeper into Iris’ head and wherever the story takes her.

 

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Pleasant dreams for now. If the rest of the game is as fun as the demo, this will be a nice one worth your time and money.

 

Back in a bit with more.

-GW

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