Portabliss: Hiversaires (iOS)

This is Portabliss, a column about downloadable games that can be played on the go.

Portabliss Hiversaires iOS
Why am I here? What do these weird symbols mean? What is this place?

Hiversaires poses more questions than it provides answers. It's an adventure game where the player is provided no context for what is happening, thrust into a beautiful monochromatic world and forced to poke and prod through one strange area after the next.%Gallery-187336% If you've played Myst, then you'll have a good idea of what Hiversaires is all about, save for the beautiful tropical island locale. A simple tap on either side of the screen turns you in that direction, and tapping in the center moves you forward or interacts with the object in front of you.

Hiversaires is very good at presenting most items of interest in the center of the screen, so thankfully the experience never devolves into tapping all around the room to find that one hidden object. It mitigates a lot of that nonsense seen in other adventure games but never feels like a blunt smack in the face.

But I've got be honest: Even after a couple hours, I still have no clue what is going on in Hiversaires. There are barely any contextual clues beyond the vague symbols that sometimes show up at the bottom of the screen. Tips or dialog of any kind are both non-existent. Odd symbols are at the heart of some puzzles, but none are decipherable or even vaguely reminiscent of anything I've ever seen.

And yet I'm driven to continue. I can't actually explain what it is that's pushing me, whether it's the need to understand why I'm here or what is going on. I know the world is beautiful in its simplicity, a steady gradient of shades shifting between black and white. I also know that Hiversaires is great at making me feel like a dummy when I can't solve a puzzle.

But chief amongst them all, I know that Hiversaires is a wonderful exercise in exploration and the human condition. I want to know – I have to know – what awaits at the end of Hiversaires' picturesque tunnel and I'll be damned if anything is going to stop me.
Hiversaires is available in the App Store (iOS) for $2.99.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.