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The classic game: Eliss

An early iPhone gem for players with a magic touch

Many games merely make up the numbers. A precious few become part of history. In this latest part of our series on classic iPhone games, we take a look at a title that took multitouch input to the extreme.

The original Eliss for iPhone.

What was Eliss?

In short, finger Twister. The app demanded you drop planets into like-colored and suitably sized ‘squeesars’ (wormholes), which would then explode in a cloud of space dust. If planets of different colors collided, your energy level would drop at terrifying speed – but it could be replenished by mopping up the aforementioned dust.

Why was it a classic?

Manipulating planets was deeply tactile. You held planets in place with ‘spare’ fingers, while tearing apart or combining others with pinch gestures, and swiped over dust before it disappeared. This all felt tailor-made for iPhone – like something that just couldn’t exist on PC or consoles. Beyond that, the minimalist visuals seemed beamed in from the future, and the delicate audio was sublime. And every aspect of the game’s design was carefully considered – most notably the choreography and individual character of each handmade bespoke stage.

Where is it now?

Technology moved faster than Eliss, and the game soon found itself without support for iPad, widescreen displays and Game Center. But in 2014, Eliss Infinity arrived to everyone’s surprise (and the palpable relief of fans), adding new modes and features. A few years later, that then fell victim to 32-bit Appageddon. We’ve no idea if Eliss will resurface, but don’t hold your breath – creator Steph Thirion is one of the more enigmatic games developers around!

Eliss Infinity added new modes and high-res visuals.

Visit the Eliss website to see a trailer and mull over the sad transient nature of great iPhone games.