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.
[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.
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.
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.
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