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Strata Review

By Dave Flodine, on September 16, 2013
Last modified 7 months, 1 week ago


Strata
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Smart concept and puzzles.
  • Slick transitions and classy visual design.
  • Clever use of audio cues to direct gameplay.

CONS

  • Lacks a play component to the puzzle solving process.

VERDICT

Strata is an elegant puzzler elevated by fluid visuals and emergent sound design.


  • Full Review
  • App Store Info
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Strata is a ribbon-based puzzle game that requires a large amount of forethought. Though we often rally behind puzzle games which give our fingers something to do while our brains dissect the problem, you might be surprised to learn that we took to Strata in a big way.

It's a game about laying coloured ribbons on grid filled with coloured tiles. Criss-crossing two ribbons over a tile activates the colour beneath. The catch is that the tile will only light up if the ribbon layed on top is of the same colour.

It sounds like a confusing concept, but the tutorial stages set out the rules of play pretty well. As you complete more sets, the play areas grows in size, making the puzzle tougher, and the order in which you lay down your ribbon even more important.

As you play, the game offers audio cues to tell you when you've made a misstep. The emergent soundtrack sends notes ringing out every time you lay a ribbon down. There's a harmony to the sustained chords that build as you layer. This accompaniment actually encourages momentum, with the sound fading away if you dawdle for too long. If you make an incorrect move, you'll hear a bum note and the chord will ring dissonant. It's a subtle but highly effective cue that you need to re-evaluate your approach.

There's also a hint system, which can tell you the correct path for each ribbon, or the order of which you need to lay the ribbons down. If you choose to use it, you can select how detailed the hint will be, so those anyone feeling guilty about asking for assistance feel like they've only been nudged in the right direction.

However, it's Strata clever concept, elegant visual design, and reactive sound which make solving its puzzles so very rewarding. As such, it's a strong entry into the zen puzzler genre, one which deserve to be played by gaming fans, and wicker basker weavers alike.

Screenshots

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