Review – Iris.Fall

Iris.Fall is an adventure puzzle game set in a mysterious world of light and shadow. It has been available since late 2018 on PC and is now making its way to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. Developed and published by NEXT Studios, Iris.Fall has the player take control of Iris, a young girl that follows a black cat through an ever-changing theatre in order to discover the mysteries of the game’s world. It has a beautiful art style and cleverly uses stage lighting as a prop to create a great range of puzzles that forces the player to think outside the box.

Iris.Fall begins with Iris awakening from a dream and it immediately places her into a space of unfamiliarity. A black cat appears in the room and by following the cat’s path the story will begin to unfold and the player will learn about Iris and what the theatre really is. The theatre is full of numerous stage setups and objectively creepy puppetry and by progressing through the story by following the cat, the player is met with many new areas within the theatre that present their own unique challenges.


Lighting is an integral part of Iris.Fall, with books that lay on the ground allowing the player to switch from physical form in the foreground to shadow form in the background. The player is often required to tinker with both solid objects and the rooms lighting in order to align shadows in the background to use shadow form to make it to those out of reach places. While this works fine and a great puzzle mechanic, it can get frustrating having to travel back and forth between different areas due to Iris’s steady walking speed and not being able to run. Iris.Fall takes a lot of attentiveness at times to understand what rearrangements must be made to a certain room in order to progress and, while the solution is usually quite simple, it can be easy to miss.


Iris.Fall is also littered with many other puzzles that are a bit more straightforward in terms of how they are completed. Things like aligning different slides to complete a picture, or a Rubik’s cube style object that must be solved in order to progress to the next area. These puzzles vary in difficulty, though they never made me want to pull my hair out. There was only one moment during my playthrough that a puzzle became frustrating, but with so many variations I can only assume that this style of puzzle was just not my forte.

Iris.Fall clocked in at only a few hours, even with my struggles with one particular hurdle, and being a puzzle game there really is no replayability value. This is a “one and done” game, with a second playthrough reserved for some achievements or trophy’s that were missed the first time. Fortunately, it is only priced at $19.99 USD, which is roughly $26 AUD, so it is not bad value at all for what is an enjoyable game.


The art style is beautiful throughout. It appears hand drawn, like something out of a children’s book. It looks like a lot of work was put into making this game look the way it does and when it is paired with the brilliant lighting, I can only commend NEXT Studios for the effort that was put in to the characters and world. The shifting parts of the world and strange camera angles can be a bit of a head spin, sometimes seeming to be somewhat of an optical illusion but it only adds to the personality of Iris.Fall.


Iris.Fall‘s music is fantastic and fits the theme of the world nicely. Resident Evil 6 composer Edwin Wendler, and Honor of Kings composer Thomas Parisch composed it, and it pairs nicely with the art, creating an unsettling atmosphere for the most part. During gameplay there is less often music and the sounds of the world around take over, often dominated by the sound of Iris’ footsteps and the cogs and parts that are turned by the player, with some ambient sounds that play in the background, like dripping water or the echo of a slight breeze.

Check out a behind the scenes look at the sound design below:

Iris.Fall is easily paused if the player has any family needs to tend to, though there is nothing stopping the player from enjoying this game in front of any kids. Although the world is predominantly in a dark setting there is nothing outlandishly frightening that would shock younger audiences, depending of course on their reaction to the world’s puppetry.


Brandon Waite

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