|Universal App:||Yes (there is a single app which works on both iPhone and iPad in HD)|
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|Purchase for iPad:||
GD Star RatingStrata,
Strata is one of those rare puzzle games that is unique, simple and elegant. Although very different, it makes me think of that other excellent puzzle, Take It Easy. With such a glut of uninspired clones, puzzle apps are two a penny on the App Store. The question is, in this age of “free to play”, is Strata sufficiently different to warrant its price tag?
The premise of Strata is simple: solve each puzzle by covering all the coloured squares with matching ribbons. Each set of Strata puzzles has varying grid sizes and configurations, which increase in complexity as you progress. Every puzzle has unlimited coloured ribbons, but there are a set number of moves you must make in order to complete the puzzle.
Simply placing ribbons over matching squares is not sufficient; the trick here is to ensure that the colour of the topmost ribbon over each square is the same as the square underneath. Whilst this might sound easy, when you have to place several layers of different coloured ribbons over one another, getting the order correct becomes a challenge. Herein lies the point of the game. Essentially, Strata requires you to weave the ribbons in a loom-like fashion until you achieve the correct configuration.
If you make a mistake, you can undo any specific ribbon. This is particularly useful in the later, more complex puzzles, but it comes at a price. In order to gain the coveted “perfect” crown, you must solve the puzzle without using the undo button. So if you’re an obsessive-compulsive gamer like me, who likes to achieve perfection in every puzzle, avoid the undo button.
Fear not, however, as there is an easy workaround. You can reset a puzzle at any point and start over. So if you make a mistake, just reset the puzzle and start again without penalty. Pro-tip: before hitting reset, take a screenshot of your puzzle (press the home and power button together). This will give you a quick reference to your previous moves.
Strata is a deceptively simple puzzler with a crisp, clean interface and ambient sound effects. Almost like a fusion of past and present, it makes the rather antiquated practice of weaving fun and addictive. Clearly, a lot of time and effort has gone into making the game appealing to players of all ages and abilities. The tutorial level provides just the right amount of guidance to get you to grips with the puzzle, without treating you like a complete noob.
Whilst there are a ton of puzzles to keep you busy, there are more sets available as IAP. Also available are IAP hint packs. This is the only part of Strata I’m not happy about. Considering its price and the additional DLC, I think to charge on top of that for hints is a bit off. You’re also penalised for using these hints; if you use a hint, you’re unable to obtain the perfect score. What’s more, if you are stuck on a puzzle, you cannot skip ahead to the next one.
7/10 Strata is a sublime puzzler which will relax and soothe you. For such a high quality app, I think the price is fair. Just don’t let the pricey hint packs ruin your experience.