Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
There are a lot of things that can be said about Tetris, but "It makes me dizzy" probably isn't one of them. Yet, playing Iris Synthesis by Funcraft Games is a bit like playing Tetris on a turntable platter. In case it's not clear: the experience is pretty cool.
Iris Synthesis is a puzzle game that revolves (literally) around prediction and shape-making. A shape appears in the center of the screen along with a countdown. Loose blocks float around the center shape, like electrons around a nucleus.
The player's job is to tap the outside pieces that correctly form the center shape when they come together. It needs to be done quickly; when the countdown in the center of the screen ends, the shape will come together whether the player selected the correct blocks or not.
If the player makes the correct guess quickly, they earn a speed bonus. If they match up the incorrect shape, they blow their chance at a perfect three-star run.
Before long, Iris Synthesis' challenge becomes pretty complex. The shapes that must be formed become bigger, more complicated, and contain differently-colored pieces. There are also weird particles that float in from the side of the screen and must be zapped away before they hit the center.
Irish Synthesis is a unique puzzle game that's satisfying to play. The shape-matching process is very different from Tetris, but jamming things together in Iris Synthesis speaks to the same part of our brains that loves playing around with I-blocks and L-blocks. Also, the soundtrack is a perfect accompaniment. It's intense enough to keep players on their toes, but isn't overwhelming.
Though Iris Synthesis is a universal app, playing on a tablet is definitely recommended. It's perfectly functional on a phone, but the floating pieces can be hard to track and tap on a small screen. Its monetization system is also a bit weird: the app is free to download and players can access a handful of levels for free, but nine additional "tokens" cost 99 cents each. It's best to just unlock the whole game for $2.99.
Iris Synthesis may induce some mild motion sickness, but just keep some ginger ale handy. It's worth the discomfort.