Skip to content

Review: _PRISM – a gorgeous abstract 3D puzzler

  • by

_PRISM is a relaxing abstract puzzler set in a stunning microcosmic galaxy

Price: $2.99/£2.29
Version: 1.0
Size: 124 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Developer: Clint Siu

With art, music, sound effects and programming all handled by one talented solo developer, the game truly feels like a cohesive vision come to life, setting logical geometry puzzles against a beautiful and atmospheric backdrop.


Rotating and matching shapes is a common theme

_PRISM delivers a relaxing, almost hypnotic experience with its immersive solar system of shimmering shapes. Though you can’t fully switch off and unwind, this is about as close as you can get while simultaneously using the puzzle-solving parts of your brain. Excellent lighting and depth of field effects pair with complex, colorful floating geometry to create the impression of a tiny universe, resulting in a gorgeously inviting micro-world full of moving parts, lights and switches just calling out for interaction. There’s no heads-up display, no explanatory tooltips and just the faintest trace of background music. Basically, it’s bliss.


The shapes explode at the climax of each level to reveal a glowing orb

The puzzles themselves, while satisfying, are not particularly difficult. This is a game played more for the joy of the journey than the challenge of completion. For the most part the puzzles involve rearranging abstract formations of colored shapes until matching dots align, a format which sounds simple but which manages to stay fresh as new mechanics are gently added to the mix. As the puzzles start to vary, we get to see sliders controlling distant objects, Rubik’s Cube style twisting puzzles, and several challenges requiring multi-touch dexterity. Each newly uncovered element flashes white – accompanied by a satisfying audio cue – to direct you to the next point of interest, so you don’t end up feeling lost in the open 3D space as you progress.


Many puzzles are 2D affairs on the face of 3D shapes

The touch controls are responsive and tactile, with echoes of the object-inspecting interface from The Room mystery games. Spinning the camera around abstract shapes, unfolding and extruding and rearranging as you go, is extremely satisfying. The movable puzzle pieces ‘snap’ into place when close to the solution, a helpful concession to the inaccuracy of touch controls. For a couple of early puzzles this means you can end up finding a solution almost by accident, but once other mechanics come into play it’s no longer a concern. All your favorite touch gestures are here, and it’s a downright joy to prod, push, pull, pinch and, uh, pivot through each level. Our only real issue here is the occasional lack of manual zoom, leaving some puzzles a little fiddly on smaller screens.


Completing every stage of a world unlocks the next in style

_PRISM is short, there’s no denying it. Depending on your puzzling mastery, it should take an hour or so to complete everything on offer here. But like Monument Valley before it, the game delivers such a polished and compelling spectacle it can be forgiven – to a degree – for being a tad short, and not particularly taxing. A little update would go a long way, but length notwithstanding this is a gem of a game and definitely worthy of a place on your home screen.