Strata – What We Think:
The goal of Strata is to strategically layer colored ribbons to match a pattern of squares. Using forethought and strategy you must sequence your moves correctly. Over time patterns emerge and your tactics may evolve, but Strata will keep you on your toes with increasingly difficult puzzles.
Not Just Ribbon Ya
A gentle tutorial guides you through the basic origami-inspired premise – select one of the earth-toned colors, tap the arrow to drag out across the 2×2 grid, then select another color. Only two layers can exist over a square on the grid – in other words the bottom ribbon and the one atop it – so you must think several moves ahead to ensure that the color of each background square is matched by the color of the ribbon on the top layer that covers it.
Of course this scales in difficulty as soon as a third, fourth or even fifth column and row are added, and even more so when a third or more colors are in play.
While you can undo every move individually, right back to where you first began, you get bonuses for clearing a stage without any corrections to your choices.
The game offers an elegant, flat design that is very easy to pick up and increasingly difficult to master. The novelty of the nature of puzzles on offer here is worth a whole star alone, but that it is executed in a manner that seems so obvious and well-iterated makes it remarkable.
The Ribbon Is Gonna Getcha…
The Ryuchi Sakamoto-esque piano score activates with a lovely piano vamp any time you take an action, be it switching between pages, undoing your previous moves or dragging a new colored ribbon across the board, and throws a discordant smattering of notes when something in your solution isn’t quite right.
Though it is not technically a music-based title, like Quell and Quell Reflect [our review] (which we chose as one of our best mobile games of 2012) it is strongly recommended you play this with the sound on, and ideally with some earbuds or headphones as it embellishes the soporific, contemplative experience significantly.
Tie One On
Easy to pick up, hard to put down, good for a three minute or three hour play session, there is little to criticize here and much to enjoy, and that makes for a short review, and a strong recommendation. This delightful app is only $.99 for your iOS device as of this writing, and a little more for your PC. It is also one of the finest mobile game offerings and best-designed puzzlers we have seen in 2013.
Get Strata for Windows and Mac on Desura ($2.99)