Simplicity, elegance, and challenge: the three features developer Graveck has emphasized in their latest gaming excursion, Strata. The one-touch gameplay of this minimalist-designed puzzler will take only seconds to learn, and after its brief tutorial, Strata no longer feels like a mere game. It is a mesmerizing, soothing exercise of both mental dexterity and artistic creation, built on fluid interactions with the player that embody Graveck’s three goals entirely.
Strata’s objective is simple: weave colored ribbons through a grid to complete the pattern. Each opening of the grid must be filled by a ribbon, and ribbons travel in a straight line once placed, exiting the opposite side. This means that on a 3x3 grid, you will weave six total strips of ribbon to fill each opening. The only other rule in play requires any colored block on the grid to end up with its same-colored ribbon on top. Because you are cross weaving, this means the second ribbon to cross a block will be on top; to successfully complete a blue block, for instance, you can cross it with any color first, but must use a blue ribbon on the second crossover.
These minimal rules create a usually straightforward solution on smaller, two-colored levels when choices are limited, but Strata quickly ups the ante by increasing the number of colored ribbons—up to four—and grid sizes—up to 5x5. The options on a 5x5 level, where you must weave ten separate ribbons through up to 25 blocks, are extensive, and often nine seemingly correctly placed ribbons can be foiled by the very last one. Thankfully, undoing your last action or series of actions is as easy as touching the ribbons in play, although completing a level without a single undo will earn you a “perfect,” the only system of scoring present. Read more »