Splice, the newest title from indie developer Auditorium, is an inventive and challenging puzzle game with unique design and beautifully simplistic presentation. In place of normal puzzler tropes are clean and pleasing designs, brilliant and relaxing music and intellectually engaging gameplay that doesn’t over-explain itself.
The music is solely comprised of wonderful piano pieces. It’s important in a game like Splice, where the gameplay isn’t radically dynamic, that the music doesn’t endlessly loop and become monotonous; and thankfully that never becomes an issue. Although there aren’t all that many different tunes, they’re good enough that they don’t overstay their welcome, and it’s unlikely you’ll even notice any repetition. Having played Splice for hours at a time, I still find all of the music beautiful and could listen to it all day (there’s a bundle on Steam that includes a copy of the soundtrack, which I highly recommend).
Puzzles in Splice are presented in ‘sequences’; each with seven ‘strands’, and it’s your job in each to arrange puzzle fragments to fit a pre-designated outline. The pieces of the puzzle resemble capsules, and you’re only allowed a few moves (splices) in each strand. This is the base concept throughout the entirety of the game, with a bit of variation when new types of capsules are introduced incrementally. The minor gameplay variations offer enough diversity to keep the puzzles from getting old over time. There are no tutorials to explain what these new cells are, what they can do, or how you should use them, and I found it refreshing to experiment and discover solutions on my own, rather than having every detail explained to me.
The main game of Splice is roughly three or four hours long, depending on your skill level. Each level (sequence) consists of seven puzzles (strands). There’s also an epilogue that adds an extra four sequences that can take even longer to complete due to a sharp spike in difficulty. There are at least two ways to solve each puzzle, one of which is referred to as the ‘angelic’ solution, which is realised when you’ve solved the puzzle with one less move than required.
All in all, there are nearly 100 puzzles in Splice, all with multiple solutions. This game is perfect for puzzle fanatics, providing several hours of fun and challenging gameplay. While it can be frustrating at times, it’s at least worth experiencing for the beautiful music and visuals.