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Developer: Triolith
Price: Free
Version: 1.3
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Wisp: Eira’s Tale is the second game from Triolith Entertainment. Their first effort was the self-descriptively action-packed Thunder Bang, a gaudy homage to the 90s TV show Power Rangers. Wisp: Eira’s Tale could not be more different.

Playing as a wee wispy fairy called Eira, the aim is to collect three crystals scattered across each of the game’s 30 levels and take them to the goal. Eira is controlled by pushing on the touch screen to make her float up and tilting the iPhone left and right to move her across. The slight sluggishness to both the touch and tilt controls gives Eira a very natural and delicate movement. She moves slowly, but not frustratingly because the levels aren’t huge and also because there’s plenty of skill involved in making sure she avoids the trials and tribulations of the map. There are black balls of goo called corruptions and they are found in most of the levels, sometimes moving in set patterns and at other times chasing after Eira, often rather menacingly given her slow pace.

There’s a real art to timing Eira’s floats, drops, and sideways movements to avoid her enemies, especially when she has a power-up. The rock power-up, for example, makes Eira able to blast downward through rocky obstacles, but it also somehow notches her down yet another gear of speed, making it imperative for players to master how to time their dodges. The ice power-up lets Eira freeze what would be death-doling obstacles, but if she hits a wall then she’ll immediately shatter. The power-ups, and how levels are built around them such as the two that spent completely in the speed-draining rock mode, make each puzzle feel individual and new. It’s a common pitfall of iPhone games; nice base idea, but no substance to carry it through. Wisp only starts to lose its hold right towards the end, but it doesn’t feel like it’s outlived its welcome by any stretch; the calming plucks of the music and the soothing greens of the environment keep things cool and comfortable.

The only criticism is that the last few levels could do a little more oomph, a little more of the ingenuity that was shown in the middle section of the game. Also, there could be a little more imagination and diversity in the visuals; as lovely as that green forest backdrop is, that’s all there really is. Yes, it’s nitpicking, really it is. That’s not to say Wisp: Eira’s tale is staggeringly good. It’s very good, sure, but it’s more that it doesn’t really put too many feet wrong. I appreciate it for that, and for the beautifully slow change of pace it provided in the conveyor belt of attention-grabbing nonsense that is the iOS marketplace.

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