Strata: A Logic Puzzle About Weaving Ribbons

Last night I found Strata [official site] – a puzzle game about layering ribbons on top of each other and thought I would share it. It’s cute and smart and pretty as well as challenging.

It’s not a new game but I thought I should share it with you as we haven’t written about it before I don’t think so here goes!

To explain:

I found Strata because I was looking for a puzzle game to distract me from my unhealthy relationship with Hexcells. I love games which are based around logic which is how I have racked up hundreds of hours on various Picross-type games. It’s what attracts me to Nurikabe and Sudoku and it’s what led me to Hexcells.

Hexcells gives you information which you use to work out which hexagons to fill in and which to make blank on a grid. I have all three Hexcells and I’ve been trying to work out if a couple of the puzzles involve a tiny bit of guesswork or if I am missing a step.

As a result I’ve run each puzzle multiple times checking for logical leaps and then I started doing little speed runs of them. Unfortunately my memory is largely visual and so I started to remember where the various filled in cells are and it kept getting in the way of checking so I was just replaying them. And then there’s infinite mode…

45 hours in it was time for something new.

Strata is a game about layering ribbons, as I said. What happens is you get given a grid of squares. Some are marked a particular colour. You have to lay ribbons over the grid in such a way that the top ribbon on a particular grid square matches the colour of the square.

If you get stuck you can get hints that tell you which colour ribbons go in particular rows or the order you need to place ribbons. That’s important because, if you haven’t guessed from the name, the whole game is structured around how the layering works.

I’m maybe an hour in and I do find it charming. The sets of puzzles seem to have a slightly odd progression in terms of difficulty because I think they’re sort of themed around different ribbon colours so you’ll go from something a bit tricky at the end of one section to something really simple just in different colours at the start of the next.

The thing I really like is that you have to think in terms of 3D spatial logic instead of the 2D that the rest of the logic puzzlers I play involve. The chimes as you fill in the grid are a lovely touch too (it has that in common with Hexcells too).

It started off as a mobile game so it’s available on iOS and Android as well as via Steam.

14 Comments

  1. Ooops says:

    Strate is nice. But only until it “clicks” and you understand the algorithm to solve it faultlessly. Then it’s just a matter of applying said algorithm, and it lacks any sort of challenge, no matter the size of the grid.

    • Philippa Warr says:

      It depends on how you think. There’s a basic approach that works in solving the puzzles because of how the layers have to work but it’s harder to see some solutions than others. It depends on how you think and how easy you find this kind of thinking. I found it relaxings.

      • trjp says:

        Reading reviews of Strata you’ll notice a lot of people seem to think they’ve worked-out “the key” or “the secret” to the game and that, somehow, this makes the game less fun.

        Problem is, ALL puzzle games have something of this and I don’t think Strata is particularly notable for having that quirk.

        Solitaire is a largely luck-based game with relatively few strategies which can increase your odds – regardless, people play it in HUGE numbers and seldom comment on that fact…

        • Ooops says:

          If people say they’ve worked out “the key” so much in this game, and don’t in other games, there is a reason. One of them being that, unlike many puzlle games, Strata never introduces new elements, just bigger grids.

          In truth, all games can theoretically be solved. But for some, the algorithm is simpler than for others. For strata, that algorithm is very basic, hence why people mention it that often.

      • Ooops says:

        In the article, you said you’re only one hour in. It took me a bit longer to “get it”. When it happens to you, the game stops being fun. It stars feeling like a Sudoku with 70% of numbers already filled in.

        I’m not saying Strata is a bad game. I played it on iOS and I got my money’s worth. It just stops being interesting before it’s beaten.

  2. Jac says:

    Does anyone else draw finger smudge ribbons over their phone / tablet? They overlap too and bring me much joy. Reckon I might enjoy this one.

  3. rapchee says:

    i don’t even like puzzle games because i’m stupid but i too spent many hours with it and enjoyed it
    i got ages ago in a humble bundle, so check, you might own it already

  4. tr76 says:

    This looks really similar to one of the first iPhone games I ever bought, Colorbind.

    • jodi says:

      I loved that game, I’d love them to update it for Retina and add some new levels.

  5. xenothaulus says:

    If you like Hexcells, try Hook.

  6. Crispy75 says:

    Another good one in the “if this then that, then that, then that but if this then that then not that” genre is Alcazar on iOS and Android. You can try the first set of levels in your browser here: link to theincrediblecompany.com

    • jgf1123 says:

      I very much enjoyed this demo. Thanks for pointing it out. Purchasing the game now.

  7. TomxJ says:

    So glad you covered this Pip, its a fantastic game. I mean… just look how pretty it is!

  8. bonuswavepilot says:

    This looks lovely! Oh and Pip – I ran Hexcells in a similar fashion; not accepting any mistakes, and only solving hexes if I understood the deductive process involved. There is no guesswork.