Splice is an unconventional puzzle game that has you rearranging cells (pieces) to form branches in order to recreate the silhouette behind it. Similar to how you look at the box when assembling a picture puzzle. Only instead of pieces, you have long cells. Each end of these cells can have only one or two cells attached. Think of it like -- is one cell attached to another cell, while -< is one cell that has two cells attached to it. This is what makes your puzzle look like a an upside-down tree. The root cell cannot be moved. Every other cell can be clicked and dragged to reconnect onto another cell as long as it doesn't already have two cells attached. Its easy to do, but not as easy to explain.
Each puzzle is limited to how many splices (moves of cells) you can do, but there is no time limit. When you run out of splices, you need to restart or rewind the puzzle... even if you run out of splices as you finish the puzzle. The real downside is no replay value. The puzzles will always be the same.
Once you get a few puzzles in, the game will start throwing in three different types of special cells for you to master. That's where things get complicated. First up is what I'll call a dead cell marked with an X. Like every other cell you can move it, but when you click the root cell, it will remove the dead cell and everything after it. Next up is a pusher cell. When you click on the root cell, the next pusher cell down the line will push out, making a new cell attached to the pusher and turning the pusher cell into a normal cell.
The final special cell is the cloner cell, which will divide itself into two normal cells when you click the root cell. Everything following the cloner cell will be cloned as well. If there are two branches after the cloner, then there will be two exact copies. The cloner cell can be the only cell attached to the previous cell, because it splits in two. So it can only go at the end of the line. If you have multiple special cells and you click the root cell, the next special cell down the line will activate. So if you have a cloner cell 2nd in line on a left branch with a pusher cell on the right branch, that cloner cell will divide on the first click, the pusher will push out on the second.
When things get complicated with the special cells, the game can become trial and error. You'll end up memorizing what you did to get where you are and having to remember everything you did to fail the puzzle. By rolling the mouse wheel you can easily rewind time and try again from there. Its never frustrating because of the music and the atmosphere. There is a soothing, relaxing vibe in the game. You're looking at beautiful vivid colors while trying to solve a black tree of a puzzle. Soothing subtle piano plays to help keep out the real world from interrupting your puzzle. Even the menus fit the rich art style the game has. Nothing was able to break me out of the immersion.
The main game is divided into two halves. The first half is called Origin and its split up into 7 sequences for the main part of the game, each with 7 puzzles. These puzzles are fun, easy, but they do get challenging. Once you complete the Origin main game, the credits roll and the game unlocks 4 more sequences of 7 puzzles for the Epilogue half of the game. These puzzles are far more difficult.
For me, this was about 2 or so hours worth of 49 puzzles. They felt just challenging enough to get stumped on some of the later ones, but still overcome. The 28 after that were just too difficult for me, but that's me and not you. Perhaps if I enjoyed the game more I'd tough out the others. Replaying the game only went by faster. There's just no replay value once you're done. Splice could come out with puzzle packs for the the fans out there, its only 24 more puzzles until 101! I recommend the developer's other game Fractal much more than this.