steph_thirionWhile at the iPhone Developers Union party at GDC 2009 I had a lengthy and pleasant conversation with Steph Thirion, author of the highly innovative, multitouch puzzle game Eliss.  During the conversation, Steph conveyed to me his concern about the game's difficulty.  He was hearing that, while some people were moving from level to level just fine, others were having extreme difficulty getting past the first few levels.  It was a situation that was concerning him.  An update would soon help the situation out, he told me.

Today, Steph's update, Eliss v1.1 [link], went live in the App Store and the price dropped a dollar to $2.99.

Details of the v1.1 update:

  • Sectors increase from 20 to 25. Difficulty curve is now gentler, and learning pacing has been improved. (Please go to www.toucheliss.com/update1 for more details.)
  • Suns entering the game can be spotted earlier.
  • The special ending sector is now directly accessible (after unlock).
  • Various interface improvements, including a new how-to page.
  • Added compatibility with iPhone OS 2.2.

Eliss ingame screenSteph made a blog post that goes into detail regarding his concerns about the game's difficulty.  (If you're a fan of the game, it's worth a read.)

If you have tried Eliss, you know it’s challenging. It’s fast and precise, and you need to put a good deal of concentration into it. I wanted to make a game that you’d feel proud of progressing into. So when reviews and comments started popping over the internet, the challenge was a frequent topic. And while some people appreciated it, others seemed really bothered by it. But that didn’t worry me too much. I thought that it had to do with multitouch still being very new to players, and also with the fact that we’re kind of getting used to be babysitted through games, and Eliss doesn’t do that. So I thought people had rushed into their own conclusions without really trying. But then I saw that some folks were putting my head for a price on internet. And I got some hate mails. And I was asked some funny questions like: “Did you actually finish your game?”
...
Anyway, the problem with the original version of Eliss, was that it roughly showed the basics, and then it took the clueless players on a chopper and parachuted them right into the heart of the action. I wanted to avoid babysitting players through the game, and it resulted in the other extreme. Players needed a better training.

Eliss was nominated for the Innovation in Game Design award at the IGF Mobile 2009 game competition.  We took a look at the title back in March and found it to be, difficulty aside, a perfect game for the iPhone platform.  It's certainly one of my personal favorites.  We feel it's a game worth a spot in every iPhone gamer's library, and this update should certainly broaden its appeal.

See the developer's gameplay video for a closer look.

App Store Link: Eliss v1.1, $2.99

  • Skyr795

    First! Anyway, now i feel obligated to get this game =/

  • Skyr795

    First! Anyway, now i feel obligated to get this game =/

  • Kamazar

    Skyr, really? Calling "first"? On an iPhone gaming site? It's bad enough on FML, just... augh!!!

    And yeah, while I'd have to agree that some of the beginning stages are tough, I think it's cuz of my lack of effort, not so much the difficulty.

  • Kamazar

    Skyr, really? Calling "first"? On an iPhone gaming site? It's bad enough on FML, just... augh!!!

    And yeah, while I'd have to agree that some of the beginning stages are tough, I think it's cuz of my lack of effort, not so much the difficulty.

  • trylleklovn

    Can't get past sector 7
    :/

  • trylleklovn

    Can't get past sector 7
    :/

  • Rad

    First off where is the lite version of this so called great game.
    The video didn't do a thing to explain what this game is even about.
    I am afraid this is just another one of those hyped games that everyone says you have to get because everyone is getting it but nobody really plays.

    Even at $2.99 this is a pass, I see 105 reviews so far I think I need a lite version or .99 price tag before I waste my money on another hyped game.
    This bring back memories of games like antimatter and the likes.

    • http://trylleklovn.net trylleklovn

      Dude, enough with the negative tone. Eliss is an awesome game. The controls are unique and only possible on the iPhone. It's an original concept and its fun and well produced.

      The game is about making a specific number of planets dissapear in each level. That is done by moving them into supernovas of the appropriate size. Planets can be merged together or pulled apart, to increase/decrease their size and increase/decrease the amount of planets.

      There are different color planets and the different color ones may not touch each other. That results in lost energi. When planets are succesfully removed stars appear, that will regenerate life when tapped.

      The game becomes hectic a few levels up because lots of planets appear and other space phenomona, like black holes etc. You always gotta try and keep the planets apart while also making them dissapear as fast as possible.

      All along it has a magnificent music theme and the graphics are smooth vector-ish.

    • John Cruz

      Eliss is a work of art. From your post, I'm not sure if you should spend your money on this as you may not appreciate it.

      The visual/auditory experience of this application is simply beautiful. I could easily see this application running on a huge touch screen at the MoMA as an installation piece.

  • Rad

    First off where is the lite version of this so called great game.
    The video didn't do a thing to explain what this game is even about.
    I am afraid this is just another one of those hyped games that everyone says you have to get because everyone is getting it but nobody really plays.

    Even at $2.99 this is a pass, I see 105 reviews so far I think I need a lite version or .99 price tag before I waste my money on another hyped game.
    This bring back memories of games like antimatter and the likes.

    • http://trylleklovn.net trylleklovn

      Dude, enough with the negative tone. Eliss is an awesome game. The controls are unique and only possible on the iPhone. It's an original concept and its fun and well produced.

      The game is about making a specific number of planets dissapear in each level. That is done by moving them into supernovas of the appropriate size. Planets can be merged together or pulled apart, to increase/decrease their size and increase/decrease the amount of planets.

      There are different color planets and the different color ones may not touch each other. That results in lost energi. When planets are succesfully removed stars appear, that will regenerate life when tapped.

      The game becomes hectic a few levels up because lots of planets appear and other space phenomona, like black holes etc. You always gotta try and keep the planets apart while also making them dissapear as fast as possible.

      All along it has a magnificent music theme and the graphics are smooth vector-ish.

    • John Cruz

      Eliss is a work of art. From your post, I'm not sure if you should spend your money on this as you may not appreciate it.

      The visual/auditory experience of this application is simply beautiful. I could easily see this application running on a huge touch screen at the MoMA as an installation piece.

  • Kris Jones

    Poor guy looks surprised you got a photo of him!

  • Kris Jones

    Poor guy looks surprised you got a photo of him!

  • Richard

    Why did they change the icon? It look awful now.

    • wegmans

      richard, I was wondering the same thing!

      I initially bought this due to the hype and did not like it... I stopped playing it as a result, but then this update got be back into it, and as a result i'm starting to like it.. it's certainly an acquired taste for me..

  • Richard

    Why did they change the icon? It look awful now.

    • wegmans

      richard, I was wondering the same thing!

      I initially bought this due to the hype and did not like it... I stopped playing it as a result, but then this update got be back into it, and as a result i'm starting to like it.. it's certainly an acquired taste for me..

  • Mr. Reeee

    I got stuck on Level 3. LOL!

    Yeah, so even though I stink playing this game, I really WANT to play it more.
    I love the concept and the graphics, I just couldn't play it.

    I downloaded the update the other day, so it's nice to know it'll be easier to get into!

  • Mr. Reeee

    I got stuck on Level 3. LOL!

    Yeah, so even though I stink playing this game, I really WANT to play it more.
    I love the concept and the graphics, I just couldn't play it.

    I downloaded the update the other day, so it's nice to know it'll be easier to get into!

  • Marfil

    I'm glad to know the udpate improve the learning curve of the game.

    I really did'nt get stuck on any specific level, but the game get hard enough to stop being funny, just like that ultrahard Mario (check it out on youtube), it was'nt impossible, but neither enjoyable.

    The game is great, but it's true that it has received to much hype.

  • Marfil

    I'm glad to know the udpate improve the learning curve of the game.

    I really did'nt get stuck on any specific level, but the game get hard enough to stop being funny, just like that ultrahard Mario (check it out on youtube), it was'nt impossible, but neither enjoyable.

    The game is great, but it's true that it has received to much hype.