Splice is an experimental puzzle game for iPad, put together by a developer called Cipher Prime. It was originally released on Steam and has received several awards. After being selected for PAX 10 and Indiecade 2012, Splice has made the jump over to iPad.
Splice is intriguing in that it’s not easy to get into, as it’s a puzzle game that plays hide-and-seek with its mechanics. But it definitely creates a striking mood, and it wordlessly communicates its principles quite well.
The basic idea is that you’ve got to line up what appear to be biological cells in a certain order, usually in a symmetrical pattern, by splitting and then recombining them (hence the title) a certain number of times. Like most great game ideas, this sounds more complicated to do than it is. In the end, you’ve just got to look closely for a pattern, and then figure out where the cells need to go.
There are some great touches in the atmosphere of the game, too. For example, when you mess up and need to redo your splices, you just touch a timeline on the side of the screen, and the game artfully rewinds to the last cut you made.
TUAW got a chance to talk with Cipher Prime at PAX last week, and founder Dain Saint said that the game was originally developed in Unity. Bringing it to the iPad didn’t take long at all, but the optimization process took about a month.
The company is now working on a sequel to a previous title, Auditorium, after having raised the funds for it via a Kickstarter earlier this year. But Saint also told us that before it makes Auditorium 2, the goal is to make a much smaller title, hopefully with a development time of just about a month, to “work through our production pipeline.” After that, it’ll be on to the bigger title, but Saint isn’t sure whether either game will make it to the iPad just yet. With a team of just five people, there’s obviously not a lot of time for extra tasks.
At any rate, it’s good to see Splice on the iOS platform, and hopefully its success will bring Cipher Prime and other indie developers back in the future. The game’s artistic and experimental, so it might not be for everyone (especially with the current $3.99 price, despite the game being even more expensive on Steam). But if you’re looking for a really gorgeous puzzle game with some out-there mechanics, Splice is a very interesting experience to try.