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Eliss Infinity Review: Fantastic Arcade Sequel

Control a reactive universe that’s not too happy when worlds collide

When Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone, tech pundits wondered how anyone would be able to control anything without a physical keyboard. Apple’s retort was that a blank canvas could become anything, and twinned with multitouch capabilities the iPhone was perhaps the most advanced blank canvas the world had ever seen. Eliss was the first game to truly take full advantage of Apple’s genius, by way of genius all of its own.

Thoroughly immersing you in a multitouch arcade experience, Steph Thirion’s game had you managing tiny universes, combining and tearing apart planets, matching them with like-colored wormholes. Hazards involved black holes that would suck planets in, risking those of different colors colliding and draining your limited energy reserves.

The game’s tutorial shows the basics of what to do. Little do you know what’s in store…

The game’s tutorial shows the basics of what to do. Little do you know what’s in store…

Eliss Infinity is in part the original game in almost verbatim fashion. All of the original levels are present and correct, but now rendered in beautiful high-resolution for the Retina display. But beyond this set of 25 challenges (which offers surprising variation and becomes extremely tough towards the end) are two new components. Spacebox is a noodly sandbox where you generate planets and obliterate them without penalty; it’s harmless and ostensibly throwaway, but provides a clever means to experiment with and master the game’s physics without risk.

Infinity is where the action’s at, though – a new endless, score-based mode that keeps lobbing new planets at you until you’re overwhelmed by the deluge. It’s a frantic, demented juggling act, and you soon find fingers tied in knots as you desperately try to manage the multi-colored orbs popping up all over the screen, intent on colliding with each other and wiping out your remaining energy reserves. The brief respite of a slow-down power-up or some extra energy usually only serves to postpone your demise for mere seconds. It’s demanding, crazy and utterly brilliant; we really had no inkling the thoughtful Eliss could ever work as an endless, score-based arcade game, but here we are.

Infinity mode is bonkers. The planets just keep on coming.

Infinity mode is bonkers. The planets just keep on coming.

If there’s any downside to Eliss Infinity, it’s that it takes no prisoners. This certainly isn’t an easy game, nor is it the simplest to get to grips with. But Odyssey’s challenges are each unique, rewarding anyone who takes the time to devise specific strategies, and Infinity is adrenaline-fueled madness. That the Eliss concept still feels as fresh today as it did five years ago also shows just how far ahead of the game Thirion was, making him rather well-suited as a developer for Apple’s cutting-edge device.

Price: $2.99/£1.99

Size: 41.9 MB

Version: 1.0

Platform: iPhone and iPad

Developer: Steph Thirion

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