When I originally played the outstanding game Osmos [$2.99/HD], the unhurried gameplay and soothing music lulled me into a calmer state. People have made similar comments about the relaxing effects of Zenbound 2 [$2.99] and Spirits [$2.99/HD]. It's been a while since another game had this effect on me, but Wisp: Eira's Tale [$2.99/Lite] by Triolith Entertainment seems to exert a calming influence. There's no timer or score, just a little glowing fairy (wisp) named Eira who's lost in the forest and needs your help to return home.
The controls are tilt-and-touch. Tilting your device moves Eira left or right. Tapping and holding the screen causes her to float upwards. Using these controls, you can search each level to discover three blue crystals and an exit portal. This is one of those games where you're constantly doing little taps and tilt adjustments to tweak your character's floating direction and speed. And there's nasty things to avoid. Apparently, an ancient creature named Fafnir is bleeding and his black blood is corrupting the forest with evil and monsters, which Eira mustn't touch. She has no weapon, so avoidance is her main strategy.
There are three elemental shrines which assist your journey, by providing temporary abilities based on earth, fire and ice. If you discover an 'Earth shrine' it lets you carry rocks to crush stone barriers, although they make Eira's movements slow and heavy. 'Fire shrines' allow you carry flames, to burn cobwebs that block your path. While 'Frost shrines' let you freeze any evil "corruption" , making it icy and passable, but if you fly into a wall while holding frost, Eira will shatter to pieces. Fortunately, plenty of save-stones are available, which save your position within the level, as a re-spawn point.
The game includes 3 worlds to complete, with 10 levels per world (30 levels in total). There are 15 achievements via Game Center. The first world is fairly straightforward as enemies move predictably in fixed paths. In the second world, new more aggressive and intelligent creatures are introduced that actually pursue you. One of the best features is the wind effect, which carries you quickly around the level on a gust of air.
I haven't unlocked the third world yet. The developers advise that additional levels are planned, but a decision hasn't been made regarding pricing. Given that only 30 levels are provided initially and there's no incentive to replay levels for better scores or time, I wouldn't be surprised if the additional levels are eventually provided as free upgrades to boost the overall gameplay duration. Time will tell.
The graphics are beautiful, especially the images of a forest in mist, which forms a suitably ethereal backdrop for this fantasy game. The main menu includes a button to toggle between high and low quality graphics, if performance is an issue, although the high quality mode ran smoothly on the iPad 1. The 2.5d graphics are accompanied by nordic folk music and ambient bird and insect noises, which one might associate with an earlier age of faeries. My only complaint about the graphics is that if you introduce three "worlds", they should each appear distinctive, whereas the first two worlds (at least) share common graphics.
In our forums, the developers describe Wisp as "an ambient nordic-inspired puzzle adventure which emphasizes exploration and navigation rather than intense action". That's a pretty good description, but don't expect "puzzles" in the form of brain teasers to solve - the puzzles they refer to relate to searching the level, avoiding danger and opening doorways, not solving brain-teasers. Also, although the title "Eira's Tale" implies a storyline about Eira's forest adventure, there's no cut-scenes or elaboration on the background story by the mid-way point.
Many modern games are characterized by frantic gameplay, bullets, killing, and explosions; but Wisp: Eira's Tale is intentionally the opposite. At least initially, as it does ramp up in difficulty as you progress. At $2.99 for a universal app and with a brand new lite version to try, this game is suitable for those who enjoy chillaxing with a graphically-appealing game, with tilt controls and no emphasis on score or best times. If that sounds like you, then Wisp: Eira's Tale is worth checking out.