Spring Falls review
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Spring Falls review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on November 18th, 2019
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FALLS SHORT
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This pretty puzzle game gets a lot of things right, but ultimately doesn’t feel that satisfying.

Developer: Sparse Game Development Inc.

Price: $3.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone XR

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Spring Falls is a puzzle game about water management. You can manipulate cliffside landscapes to change which areas receive water, and your ultimate goal is to deliver water to flowers on each level. There’s a lot to like about Spring Falls with regard to its presentation and playability, but its puzzle design feels a bit unintuitive.

Carry the water

Spring Falls takes place on a cliffside that is divided up into a hexagonal grid. Each level is a feature on this cliff face that contains water and at least one wilted flower. Your job is to change the topography of the level such that the water can restore the flowers to their former, beautiful selves.

The way you can reshape the land in Spring Falls is very limited, though. You can’t just shuffle any old hexagonal spaces up and down to your liking. There are specific rules in this game that govern your ability to manipulate puzzles, with the main ones being that you can only control spaces that are in direct contact with water and you can only move these spaces downward.

Remove the water

This ruleset feels extremely limiting, but Spring Falls manages to create a lot of varied challenges around it. You eventually get to the point where you create cascades of water, build pits for rain to gather, and even split your water sources to make sure each flower is well taken care of.

To help you learn each new concept easily, Spring Falls is careful to bump down the difficulty whenever a new idea is introduced. The game also features a handy undo button that lets you take back moves instantly without any sort of penalty or limit. These are key features that—frankly—should be in every mobile puzzler, but that’s all the more reason to appreciate them. Not enough games do this.

Under the rocks and stones

Although Spring Falls goes out of its way to make its unique gameplay as accessible and easygoing as possible, I still find it a little hard to appreciate. The rules around how the game work feel a little too contrived. There are just too many moments where it feels like the best way to solve puzzles is to experiment a bunch and liberally use the undo button until you find a way forward.

If there was some epiphany that was supposed to follow from these trial-and-error moments in Spring Falls, I certainly missed them. All I would feel is some slight relief, particularly if what followed was an easier, more intuitive level or two. This is a tough spot to be in for a game. Spring Falls definitely excels when it keeps things simpler, but it needs to escalate its challenge to avoid feeling flat. Unfortunately though, the kind of challenge that comes from Spring Falls doesn’t feel quite right.

The bottom line

Some puzzle games can get away with tough stages that can turn lots of head-scratching into super satisfying breakthroughs. Spring Falls is not one of these games. It’s also not entirely clear if it wants to be that. It just plays by a different set of rules, and they’re ones that only occasionally satisfy.

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