Iris.Fall is a point and click game with light and shadow based puzzle gameplay. You, I assume, play as Iris (I’ll be calling the character that from now on) and uhhh… well, you fall. The story of the game is told through small cutscenes and the puzzles themselves, there’s no vocals in this it’s all about what you see during the game. I actually once played this on Steam, a long time ago at this point, I didn’t even understand the story at that point. This time, while playing it’s new Xbox One console port, the story finally clicked with me and I was like, “Oooooooooooooooooh, I’m a dumbass. I should have known this back then.”
Iris wakes up from a nightmare one night, seeing a black cat attack her. When she wakes she sees a black cat in her window sill and she for some reason decides to follow the cat, in the middle of the bloody night I might add, because… because… she’s crazy, yeah we’ll go with that. The cat shows her the magic of stepping on a book and being turned into a shadow and using the book to come back. This is your small adventure to correct the mistakes of an old woman and save the lives of a number of other children all while learning more about yourself.
The gameplay is simple, you walk around, collect stuff to solve some puzzles and change into a shadow where you can interact with other shadows, this lets you move about in the shadow uhhh world I guess for a lack of a better word. As a shadow you can collect a few things but it’s mostly there so you can get places you wouldn’t be able to in the normal world. A good example of this shadow gameplay, to help explain it, you have to be in light so that your shadow is cast and a book has to be in that light too, when you move to the shadows you can walk around on shadows cast by objects that you can’t actually walk on. Let’s say there’s a stairway, the bottom and top exist but the middle of the stairwell has broken and fallen away, that leaves a gap Iris can’t jump. However, you find a tiny metal pipe, you place it on a machine and change the light so that the staircase casts a shadow and the tiny pipe casts a huge shadow across the two parts of the stairwell. At this point she can go into the shadow world and walk up the stairs, cross the pipe’s shadow to the next set of stairs and move up those steps to the next book. A lot of the puzzles involve turning on lights and using the shadows to solve puzzles either by creating paths in the shadow that Iris can travel or by using shadows to interact with other shadows in order to cause things to move (see picture). The point and click bits are pretty fast and easy, you pick something up and typically use it within a few seconds in the same room you picked it up at which makes that a lot easier to deal with and they always make sense.
There’s not a lot to say about the game as you can beat it in two to three hours. I could talk more about the story but then it’ll go into spoiling it and I really don’t want to do that, the story is interesting when it clicks with you. I’m all sorts of dense so it should only take you one playthrough to get the story. Mechanically it’s pretty simple, make shadows to make pathways, solve simple puzzles to turn on lights and the like, and get where you need to go. It’s a simple game however it’s really cute and has, what I think is, hand drawn graphics; it’s a very pretty, pretty game. I’m really all for this, I love shadow based games, be it mechanics or visuals and this has both, to me these kind of games just look really unique and I enjoy them.
Iris.Fall was developed by NExT Studios.
Point of Sale: X1, PS4, Switch, Steam.
$15 on Steam, $20 on all the others
A review copy of the game was provided by the devs.
darkmikasonfire awards Iris.Fall the Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval.