Very few games take full advantage of the multi-touch display on your iOS device, but Eliss is definitely one. It’s a multi-touch puzzle game that gives you different colored planets, and you need to merge, and split them to fit into the corresponding colored portals. You also need to keep the different colors separated, or your energy meter will deplete to eventually end your game. There are multiple planets on screen at once, which means you get to play a little bit of Twister with your fingers to keep the planets separated, while directing matches around the screen. Eliss was quite innovative for its time as it launched back in 2009 before the iPad even existed.
In 2014, we’re given Eliss Infinity, which is a re-release that has been enhanced in every way. First off, you can now play Eliss on the iPad, which gives you much more room to operate, and there’s also 4” iPhone screen support. The original consists of 25 levels, and now they’re available in a new Odyssey mode with a clear level structure, actual tutorial, and enhanced level flow. It’s really a whole new way to play Eliss, as it feels like more of an action puzzle game, where the original was a bit like a tech demo. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a brand new mode in the form of Infinity mode, hence the title.
The Infinity mode is a fast paced arcade version of Eliss where you just try to survive as long as possible as new planets keep popping up. The level mode is challenging in its own right, but it now feels like a leisurely stroll compared to Infinity. With Infinity mode, there are four planet colors that are constantly appearing in different shapes and sizes, and there are a bunch of time sensitive portals as well. It’s an extreme challenge to stay on top of all that’s going on with over a dozen planets on screen, three different portals, and the constant flow of new additions. The game engrosses your entire attention, and a thrilling mad dash of time management. Your fingers will be flying across the screen, and it’s still not enough as it’s hard to even take account of all that’s happening.
The Infinity mode could have been the entire game, and it would be a worthwhile experience as it’s just frantic fun. There’s also an intrinsic replay factor, as you’re always ready for one more go of the action. The level mode is a bit easy with a more methodical approach to planet management, but there’s nice variety with different objectives, and obstacles. You will need to constantly merge, and pinch planets to find the right size while dealing with comets, black holes, and other space challenges. To round out the game, there’s a sandbox mode to just play around with the physics engine. All of the action is presented through a retro vector style that has its own unique polish, and charm with subtle enhancements for Infinity. The game also features Game Center, and iCloud for the first time.
Eliss Infintiy ($2.99, Universal) is an outstanding puzzle game that brilliantly takes advantage of touch while offering two very distinct, and engaging game modes making it a should buy.