Iris.Fall Review: An Eye-Catching Dark Fantasy Puzzler

by David Sanchez January 8, 2021 @ 9:09 am

Indie puzzle-platformer Iris.Fall on Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Switch

If you’re big into aesthetics, it’s very possible that you’ll take one look at Iris.Fall from Next Studios and instantly be into it. Thankfully, the game offers quite a bit of substance in addition to its style. Released on PC a little over two years ago, the game is finally on consoles, and it’s just as fun and puzzling now as it was then.

A Dark Storybook World

It’s easy to look at Iris.Fall and instantly make comparisons to games like Limbo and Inside. And though it certainly appears to draw inspiration from those iconic titles, this game features a more hand-drawn look to it. The result is a game that looks like it was pulled out of the pages of a centuries-old storybook — it’s haunting and eerie, but with a fantastical element to it.

Iris.Fall Nintendo Switch puzzle gameplay.

This is evident in both the character designs and the settings. Aside from your black cat companion, you encounter puppets and large automated toys that run on gears and strings, giving certain areas of the game an old-time carnival vibe. There are also areas where you’re surrounded by cogs and levers — all massive. Iris.Fall does an excellent job of making you feel like you’re trapped inside giant machinery all too often, creating a moving, imposing atmosphere.

The more you move through the world of Iris.Fall, the more you realize it’s less like Limbo and more like, say, Fracter. There are even areas that seem to go in mildly M.C. Escher-esque territory, though the game never turns that elaborate dial all the way up.

Moving Along

Iris.Fall shadow gameplay.

Captivating art design aside, Iris.Fall does a good job of creating tricky brain teasers in each of its chapters. As you progress, you’ll come across a variety of puzzle designs. Some of these are a throwback to old school point-and-click adventure games, requiring you to use key items you’ve found along the way and “connect the dots,” so to speak, to move on. Other times, you’ll use different tools to move the environment around you and open up new paths and doors.

There areas where Iris.Fall plays with perspective, too. You can turn into a shadow at times and walk along the walls, not too unlike The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Typically, these moments require you to solve a puzzle beforehand to create a shadow that looks like a bridge, platform, or path. When you do so, you’ll be able to turn into a shadow and take that crossing to enter a new area or reach a higher part of a stage. It’s pretty cool, and it never feels overdone.

Iris.Fall exploration gameplay.

You can get through the eight chapters in Iris.Fall in around three or four hours. This is by no means a long game, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s plenty tricky at times, but even then the puzzles are often inviting and never frustrating. The shorter length ensures the game never overstays its welcome, and what you get is a nice, condensed puzzle-adventure. It’s quite good on Switch, where you can play in handheld mode and just lean back on a comfy chair or couch and get lost in the game’s hand-drawn, mostly monochromatic picture book world.

If you’re looking for a fun and cool-looking puzzler to enjoy on your Nintendo Switch, you’d do well to pick up Iris.Fall. It’s not the deepest game, but it doesn’t do anything inherently wrong, either. It’s a lot of fun, and it might have you scratching your head from time to time as you try and solve some of the trickier puzzles. The hand-drawn look, big environments, haunting atmosphere, and entertaining challenges found throughout are sure to make for an enjoyable evening.

Score: 7.5 out of 10

Follow this author on .