'Splice' Evolves Its Twisted Sequence Of Puzzles To Consoles
January 26, 2015
Puzzle games may be a dime a dozen, but their worth is really demonstrated by how much they test your brainpower. If you can find a game that really puts your cerebrum through its paces, and toes the line between being difficult and gratifying, then you've got a winner on your hands. Cipher Prime's Splice is one of those games. The recent PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 release upgrades the 2012 PC title, and introduces its challenging series of mind-bending quandaries to a whole new audience.
Who: Developer: Cipher Prime Publisher: Cipher Prime
Created and published by a small, independent game studio in Philadelphia, Splice brings an entirely unique sensibility to the table. Cipher Prime has developed a bit of reputation for making aesthetics a priority in their games without sacrificing gameplay. Titles like Auditorium, Fractal, and Intake demonstrate the studio's ability to craft really interesting games, it's clear that Splice comes from a team that really takes pride in what they do … and it shows.
What: The concept of Splice is actually pretty simple: the basic gist of the game is to deconstruct and reconstruct ("splice") cells into specifically ordered strands to complete the level. Every strand has a target design, and a set number of splices that you can use to make it, which is where the real challenge layers in. It's a somewhat abstract idea, but after working through a couple of levels, everything starts falling into place (figuratively and literally). The cells are collected in sequences that serve as a grouping, and as you progress through sequences new concepts are introduced. Soon you'll start manipulating cells that can self-replicate, or others that clone each successive cell that's attached to it. Since trial and error is really the only way to succeed in Splice, the game includes some very easy rewind and redo tools that help players start over, or undo/redo their last move quickly and easily. It's a really low impact puzzle game that shouldn't cause much rage or frustration - even if it does, it should be quickly quelled by the game's uber-relaxing piano soundtrack.
Where: The latest version of Splice is now available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, but the original has been on the market since 2012 on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS platforms. This release takes advantage of consoles' controls, and adds an updated level of polish that the earlier releases don’t have.
Why: Even though Splice has technically been available since 2012, the console release should open up the doors to anyone that doesn't play games on their PC (or Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS devices). While it's clear the game was designed for a PC interface, the switch to a controller actually feels pretty natural, and shouldn't be a big hurdle for anyone to overcome. Focusing solely on the gameplay, it's easy to see why this particular title is landing on more platforms, since the core puzzle concept is simple, but slowly builds to be complex without really reaching the point of being insurmountable. Splice manages to find the sweet spot on a variety of different levels, and even if this isn't your kind of game, the soundtrack alone is worth the price of entry. So, if you missed Splice in the past, now is the time to jump in, and take on the game's unique puzzles, as long as your brain is up for the challenge.