Splice is a game that's not afraid to melt your brain. It successfully throws highly challenging puzzles right at you, and if you're not prepared, you could end up being incredibly frustrated. What I took away from Splice is that you need to find a way to play it that works for you. Puzzle games are known for teasing your brain; Splice may very well break it. But then it'll reconstruct it, only to twist it, freeze it, and slowly chip away at it once more. This isn't a game for just any individual who may be curious about it. No, this is a game for the die-hard puzzle gamer.
Developer Cipher Prime has created a very unique title. The look and sound of the game is almost therapeutic. Splice has a clean minimalist visual style to it that's pleasantly soothing. To add to the vibe is a melodic piano-themed score. The sights and sounds of Splice come together beautifully to create a warm, welcoming experience. The presentation is, for all intents and purposes, really fitting, because this is a game that will challenge you, so it makes sure to provide a serene ambiance to counter that often powerful level of difficulty and make you feel more at ease.
In Splice, you're tasked with taking cells and forming them into a preset structure. You know exactly what your cells need to look like because the outline is apparent throughout. You simply need to align the cells and fill in the outline. Except it's never that simple. Splice challenges you by requiring you to arrange cells in a limited number of turns. It isn't long before the game throws cells that can duplicate and split themselves up, and by arranging them in different orders, you can get a number of varying results.
Splice is a game about patience. If you think you can just breeze through every puzzle, you'll be sorely disappointed the moment the game has you scratching your head out of sheer confusion. But that's exactly the kind of game this is. You're going to stare at the screen wondering what to do next. You're not going to solve every puzzle with your first attempt every time. You're going to be challenged, and when you finally figure out how to split cells up and where to place the multiple strands, you're going to get this amazing feeling of utmost satisfaction, because that's the kind of game this is.
For every challenge and frustration that Splice throws your way in its 70+ stages, there's an equal reward and satisfaction once you realize you've cleared a puzzle. You can't be afraid to walk away from a puzzle for a few minutes, maybe even a few hours, if it's just too taxing. Return to it at a later time, and you may just figure out the solution. At one point I actually stopped playing Splice for a few days, and when I returned to that tricky and fiendish puzzle that was getting the best of me, I figured it out after a few tries, and it felt great.
Splice is an interesting game because it most certainly won't appeal to everyone. And as far as the gamers who it does appeal to are concerned, you'll find a lot of enjoyment, and possibly an equal amount of frustration in this title. But Splice is a puzzle game; it's supposed to puzzle you. Splice isn't supposed to go easy on you, and it doesn't. This is a game that requires puzzle game mastery, and if you're up for the task, you're in for a superbly rewarding experience rife with wondrously calming visuals and beautiful sound.
For a bunch of indie game and burrito talk, follow @thesanchezdavid on Twitter.