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Review: Eden: Renaissance – far more than your average turn-based puzzler

A deep turn-based puzzle game that give the greats a run for their money

Price: $4.99 / £4.99
Version: 1.01
Size: 1.41 GB
Developer: The Last Kind
Platform: iPhone / iPad


Those familiar with Squaresoft’s turn-based iPhone games Hitman Go and Lara Croft Go will notice some similarities between those titles and new premium puzzler Eden: Renaissance. But is it more than Tomb Raider on ice? You bet. Eden provides a rich, lovingly-crafted world with a great narrative to boot. The latter in particular is often sorely missing from similar titles. But is it as slick as the aforementioned games from major studios? Not quite.

There’s some brilliantly-crafted cut-scenes

But back to that narrative. The premise is the planet has gone into meltdown after numerous, simultaneous natural disasters. Enter Ran, an archaeologist studying at an ice station in the Arctic. After discovering a mysterious rock that shatters to reveal a glowing green cube, the hero follows the cube’s compass-like guidance underground.

It’s all pretty ice-like for the first few levels which whet your appetite with a series of simple puzzles, involving the movement of structures and avoidance of weird mechanic robots. However, by the time you get beyond the first world, the whole thing opens up – the color scheme, the characters, the story, but most of all, the challenge.

The game is introduced gently, but its pacing is a little slow

Turn-based games are great, but they’re not for everyone. Eden gets really tricky as you progress, and while many players will welcome the challenge, it can get frustrating. One wrong move and you have to start the whole puzzle again, with no chance to rewind a few steps or work your way back out of trouble. That’s the dev’s prerogative and, in theory, a totally legit decision.

However, the game isn’t as slick as it might like to think, and occasionally a slight delay or misregistered swipe can cause undeserved failure. With an unforgiving system of restarts in place, the lack of an undo button only adds to the game’s often overly slow pace.

There’s plenty of trial and error involved – if you mess up, you have to go back to the start of some pretty long puzzles

The graphics also let the devilish puzzles down at times. There seems to be a smear of vaseline on the proverbial lens, and it’s not as sharp as it could be. That said, the game comes into its own more on a larger screened iPhone or an iPad.

There are many worlds available – with 100 puzzles. The size of the game certainly justifies its premium price point

However, this game is packed. There are 100 puzzles across 7 environments, and as you progress you learn how Ran’s quest is explicitly linked to the fate of the whole world. It’s an entertaining ride full of twists and turns, and mysterious beings. For those that are new to turn-based puzzle games, Eden might be a little overwhelming, but for those that find others lacking, you’ll find a rich, deep experience in Eden: Renaissance.