Review: Strata (Steam)
Strata is an exciting venture off the normal Radio PlayStation path. An interesting puzzle game, Strata weaves (heh, puns) your brain into a path finding machine.
Strata’s main focus is on colors and paths and making sure that colors overlap, or don’t overlap in order to fill in the pattern beneath them. You start with a grid of squares, each with it’s own color assigned to it. In some cases, multiple colors occupy the grid, and each square must have the top “thread” match the original color in the grid. In the example above, the Yellow square in the bottom of the grid has a blue-ish thread over it, but the second layer is the red weave, which completes that path and correctly fills in the color beneath it. The blue colored thread then passes over the maroon thread, completing that square. That same logic expands over grids in 6×6 patterns, which will really require some focus and thought, as you cannot just unweave and weave colors as you see fit.
Whatever path you start, is the path it must be undone in if you have to fix something, or simply overlap the wrong colors. This is where the game shines. As you expand your grid and things become more complicated, the challenge increases and you start to really focus in on the possible ways you could solve each grid. Though there are multiple ways to attack each grid, you have to consider in what order you go from, which color you’re starting with, and what overlaps what. Thankfully, if you get really lost, there is a “reset” button which will just bring you back to square one (heh, another pun!). There is also a hint button as well. If you manage to complete the puzzle without starting over or unweaving anything, you’ll get a perfect and also unlock some steam achievements as well.
Strata really is a peaceful game, some frustrations aside. Even on a 4×4 grid (see above) with lots of potential ways of messing up, the more you play the game the more focused you become on the game. It’s a refreshing way to unwind after a long day of work, because it simply makes you focus on the calming colors and threads, rather than whatever may have been bugging you all day. The game is accompanied by a lovely piano soundtrack, and there are a good amount of puzzles to keep you busy.
Strata is available on Steam for PC, Linux, Macintosh, Windows Phone, iOS, and the Google Play Store as well. For $3.99 you can buy it on Steam for PC, Mac and Linux. I think it would be an awesome addition to the PSVita, as playing it on my tablet seemed far more natural than using a mouse/trackpad on a computer. Who knows, even the PS4 has the touchpad controls so it would seem doable for that platform as well.
I give this game a 7.5/10 for it’s unique approach to a puzzle game, and its simple but inviting aesthetic. If you’re a fan of puzzle games I highly recommend it. If you get easily frustrated, the larger grid levels will definitely pose a challenge. For more information see the links below: