Though I was unabashed in professing my love for Steph Thirion’s iPhone debut, Eliss, there’s no getting around the fact that our relationship (and the one she had with most others) was — to put it frankly — an abusive one.
As Thirion would go on to tell me at GDC, and has now explained fully via his new blog, a startlingly small number of people made it even halfway through the game, and a micro-percentage managed to finish it (and then, in one case, not for some 40 odd hours for its 20 ‘short’ levels).
After a period of post-conference reflection, then, he’s settled on a way to ease players in a bit more gently, and in the process, added a quarter more levels to the game. He explains:
On the original group of sectors, there was a serious jump after sector 2. Too many new things were introduced on sector 3, there was no time to get prepared for them. To fill up that missing space, four new sectors were added in between those. None of these sectors brings anything truly new compared to version 1.0, but they allow a better pacing. I also moved quite a few sectors around, to make a more logical difficulty progression, and did some tweaking in specific sectors. In the process I also added a little bonus, sector 14, which is a new thing. Also, the suns’ appearance has been modified to be spotted earlier, making the much dreaded sector 10 (which has been moved to sector 20 by the way) easier to beat.
Progress on your original game has for the most part been saved and adjusted for but in general, says Thirion, the game is “better balanced, less jumpy, more user friendly,” and therefore comes even more universally recommended than it did at last mention.
As a bonus, Thirion’s written a lovely letter to his audience here, which doubles as an illuminating look at a creator struggling with the “Fairy of Reason.”
The 1.1 update for Eliss is currently live on the App Store, or can be purchased, now at a reduced price, via this iTunes link.