tl;dr -> This game made me rage harder than microbiology class.
I own a handful of challenging puzzle games that I (foolishly) play to relieve stress, only to have it backfire when I reach difficult levels. A good friend gifted me this game, and I was excited to it out. I was very satisfied with my gameplay experience.
If you like challenging puzzle games, uplifting/relaxing music (especially piano scores), and microbiology, then you will enjoy Splice.
The aesthetics are simple, yet offer a nice presentation with vibrant colors. All of the microbial pieces are the same shape, however, the shape you have to make varies slightly per stage. The music is wonderful - the piano pieces are relaxing and very pleasant to listen to.
The controls are very easy to learn and only require the mouse - you will utilize the left/right clicks and the scroll wheel. There is a basic tutorial to teach you how to play, and the learning curve is minimal to moderate depending on your familiarity with puzzle games. The game has a very fair pace of gradually increasing the difficulty and adds new gameplay mechanics at appropriate intervals.
Gameplay consists of you taking pieces from a microbial and rearranging it to match a picture - the catch is you must do this within a set number of moves. "Angelic" stages signify the possibility of completing a level without using all of your allotted moves (this is indicated by an angelic portrait at the bottom left of the screen. These drive me crazy whenever I try to figure out the precise move you have to make. You can reset your level progress, or rewind/fast-forward time with the mouse scroll wheel.
As you progress through the stages, new mechanics are added to increase the difficulty. For example, one of the first new elements you will encounter is a "splitter" piece, which duplicates itself (including anything and everything attached below it) when you right-click. An "arrow" piece adds one more microbial piece beneath it when you right-click. Any right-click moves do not count as "action points," and you will actually have to do these first to solve a few of the puzzles. The latter levels add a very interesting mechanic - the ability to break off microbial pieces and leave it floating; all levels before this require you to reattach any microbial piece you remove to an actual spot on the main body.
Overall, the game is a very nice casual and relaxing puzzle game, and anyone interested in the genre will find enjoyment. Experienced and new puzzle enthusiasts should definitely give this game a try.
DJSF @DJSF's Rogue Reviews