Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Eliss

2:00 PM on 05.04.2009 // Brad Nicholson

I love it when developers “get it.” The iPhone isn’t a toy and shouldn’t be treated as such. I get grouchy whenever I play a title that uses an on-screen directional pad and buttons. I tend to get especially testy when developers choose to clutter the game with moronic and complicated controls.

Eliss’ controls are simple and as a result, the game is better than most available on the App Store. You touch and flick without obstruction -- no silly tilt functionality or on-screen shenanigans.

For that, I’m appreciative. But I have to say immediately that Eliss has a problem. It’s an ancient problem that has plagued mobile gaming for far too long.

Hit the break for the review.

Eliss (iPhone)
Seller: Steph Thirion
Released: March 6, 2009
MSRP: $3.99

[Editor's note: It appears that the update for "Eliss" is finally out. The patch allegedly makes the difficulty -- my greatest problem with the game -- much more manageable. I originally wrote this review over three weeks ago and waited for the patch to hit to see if it changed my perspective and experience. Towards the end of April I decided to go ahead and post this review since the patch still wasn't available, however, our review schedule became very busy. As a result, it wasn’t posted until today. As a commenter pointed out, this is extremely unfortunate timing and I'll definitely take another look at this title in the future.]

I have a problem with Eliss. I can see its splendor -- responsive touch-and-flick controls coupled with simple, yet compelling puzzle design -- but I can’t latch on to it. The game is simply too hard to enjoy. Every time I make the leap to the next level after countless attempts, I’m greeted with another preposterously rough level. Eliss isn’t Mega Man -- there is no trial and error or memorization. It’s just a frustrating game.

But let’s take a step back for a moment. Eliss is a 2D puzzle title set in space. The goal of the game is to drag a circle (a planet or star) into a similarly sized and colored gate (denoting a supernova or “squeesar” explosion) in order to clear it from the screen.

New circles of varying colors constantly appear on the screen. If two different colors meet -- a collision of sorts -- the health bar at the top of the screen quickly depletes. However, if two like-colored circles meet, they combine to make a bigger circle that will fit in a larger gate. You can also break down these larger circles by spreading two fingers while pressure is applied on the circle.

Each level requires a certain amount of circles to be cleared. The progression of these levels often brings in new obstructions as well, such as black holes, which suck spheres into inky darkness with an immense gravitational pull.

The game may sound confusing on paper, but it isn’t in practice. Within a few minutes -- without the help of the tutorial, which is awful -- you’ll quickly get into the flow of clicking and dragging spheres. The controls are where Eliss really shines. It’s a simple game that uses the platform’s touch screen in a natural, unobtrusive way. It’s flicking bliss, and I’m thankful for that.

The problems with the title quickly come about after the initial stages. The game gets quite hectic as new spheres pile onto the screen with little warning and a deadly speed that becomes entirely too frantic to follow with your fingers. Spheres will begin to spawn on top of other spheres, drawing down your precious health rapidly, ending the experience much too quickly for my tastes.

Even when I thought I “got” the level -- understood exactly what the developer was trying to get me to wrap my head around -- I still felt like everything was moving at an unneeded breakneck pace. The evidence is in my inability to pass level seven after hours and hours of play. The speed simply becomes unfair and the game’s brilliance quickly sputters when frustration steps in.

For what it’s worth, Eliss looks great. It has serious retro flair and a soundtrack that backs up its flavor. Unfortunately, the bonus items tend to break the vibe with their odd shapes and design.

I think Eliss is a prime example of an iPhone game that needs some tweaking, and inevitably, it will receive an update. But as of right now, you may want to avoid the title. It’s pretty and built with hands that are familiar with the limitations of the iPhone’s touch screen, but the frustrating difficulty will keep you from progressing and truly enjoying the title.

Score: 4 -- Below Average (4s have some high points, but they soon give way to glaring faults. Not the worst games, but are difficult to recommend.)

Brad Nicholson,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: With all the controversy surrounding review scores, what do you personally consider a "bad" score versus a "good" score? Is there a game in particular that was panned by critics that you nevertheless enjoyed? Or vice versa?
TheVeganGamer avatarTheVeganGamer
Finally got around to playing Diablo 3 with some friends, holy smokes! That game is rad!
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Public service announcement: Marry an orphan. It makes the holidays so much easier when you don't have to deal with pain in the ass in-laws.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
So... how long is it until we get the inevitable Colonial Marines or Ride to Hell: Retribution PS4/Xbox One re-releases?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Screw Bloodborne. I finally managed to overcome not tearing up while listening to the entirety of Never More. Git gud! [youtube][/youtube]
NYCpunk avatarNYCpunk
you know what's not okay? scalpers with 10 copies of fire emblem fates SE on ebay for $200+. and no one is saying anything.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Fallout 4 wouldn't be Fallout with ridiculous glitches and shenanigans. Here are a few I've run into - [youtube][/youtube]
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
I've never earnestly went drinking before so it's cool to know I'm the slow, sleepy, impaired type.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Got to admit I didn't expect to find a mewtwo amiibo at my bookstore of all places...
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
My cousin found out I slept with his girlfriend and is pissed. Understandable. I am totally sick of the angry phone calls though. It reminds me so much of playing Call of Duty online. The screaming 11 year olds suck on there too.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Huh. Apparently even Japan has a Black Friday sale going on on PSN right now.
Lawman avatarLawman
Yes, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I know that somebody has 2,625 more medallions than me. No, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I don't really care.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
This fucking Bloodborne DLC, jesus. I'm on new game+, about level 90, and shit just tears my dick off. I don't know if I want to start another guy just to avoid NG+ and level him up, etc. sigh....
Shinta avatarShinta
Wii U, top selling black friday item on Take that you anti-Wii U people.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I am pretty hyped for when I get a laptop because I'll be able to have a good enough connection to stream XbOne/soon PS4 games to it along with natively rendered Steam games. Hype!
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Got a PS4 that came with SW Battlefront this week, and planning on picking up the FFX/X-2 remake. Hype is through the roof, especially for FFX. If I were to get one other game, what should it be?
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Did a google maps search around my parents house for bars and there isn't one in like 25 miles, so I picked up an Intel compute stick and South Park: Stick of Truth on Steam. That's more or less the drunken screaming I'm in the mood for at about the cost.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Do you ever have that moment of clarity when talking to someone and suddenly realising: You're just a skull, and they're just a skull, with fucking eyeballs and a sac of skin being the only comparative difference between you visually? ..just me then?
Nathan D avatarNathan D
After quitting for two days out of frustration, I beat Ludwig on my first try of the night. I'm on cloud fucking nine right now.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
When I did my retail shift today, we were moving more Smash/Splat Wii U bundles and the Gears/Rare Replay/Ori XB1 bundles than Uncharted and Battlefront PS4s. I think Nintendo and MS have better value on their side this holiday. Sony got lazy.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -