Review Tumbling in for The Fall

A side scrolling puzzle games, the fall evokes adventure game ideas. But does it take the good or bad from them?

The Fall: Review from the Cloud

What is The Fall?

Simply, it is a side scrolling, sci-fi puzzle game, with some shooting and stealth mechanics.

In more detail The Fall, delivers a thought-provoking story, simple gameplay and interesting puzzles. It has a similar art style to Limbo (black and grey), with adventure game mechanics similar to Monkey Island. The shooting is simplistic, you can choose to have either your torch on for exploration, or laser sight on for combat. When you aim your gun there is a laser which tells you exactly where you are going to shoot, hitting enemies in the head does more damage and, early on, kills in one shot. Initially you have to hold the button for a short time for the gun to shoot. When you are using your torch (still by aiming your gun) to scan the environment you look for things to interact with. When you find one of these a small white magnifying glass appears on it, which turns yellow when you look at it directly. When interacting with things, you can select from several options these are:

  • Network - This allows you connect remotely to electronics which do not allow for physical access, or are damaged.
  • Cancel - self-evident.
  • Interact - This allows you to, speak to others, pick objects up or manipulate other objects.

The art style of The Fall is definitely inspired by Limbo but it does have more colour, when using your torch you can see colour in objects, and an area close to you always has colour. The colour palette is generally black, grey and blue, but with some reds and browns, which gives the game a great atmosphere it would lose without.

Story

The story follows an Artificial Intelligence, called ARID (Armored Robotics Interface Device), who has taken control of a high-tech combat suit to save her pilot. ARIDs protocols ensure that she does everything possible to save her pilot, without putting them in unnecessary danger.

The game starts with you falling through space, hence the name, and you crash on a planet which you do not recognise. When you wake up, you find yourself in a cave, where there isn't much light, and you have a malfunctioning gun. Your first task, find a way out of the cave. Further through the story you find that the planet has a facility for the testing and destruction of faulty droids made by a company called Domesticon. However the facility is in disrepair and haunted by a rogue AI, called the Caretaker, who is not all he seems to be. The same can be said for ARID, is she following protocol?

Without spoiling the story, it is very open-ended, however there is going to be part 2 (and possibly more). I for one cannot wait to continue the story of ARID.

Puzzles and Gameplay
The puzzles overall are really fun to work out and are challenging at the same time.

The puzzles are very point and click inspired, and there are one or two sections where I felt that this let the game down. This is my personal opinion on adventure games, which some do share, but the way that interaction is very scripted is where they always falter. For example, there is a section where you have to help someone to cross the road (without spoiling I cannot explain why you are doing this). The person is made out of a wooden board (they are not a real person, but again to explain would involve spoiling the story). You have to help them cross the road, but as the track they move along is damaged, they cannot cross the road. So instead of just picking up the person up, by pulling them off their base, you have to go through an elaborate system of activating electronics. The main issue I have with this way of solving the puzzle is that you cannot see how the interaction points are linked without blind guessing. However the puzzles overall are really fun to work out, and are challenging at the same time.

The combat is simple but very well done. You have two bars, Shield and Life Support (basically health) which regenerate slowly over time, unless you use the stealth mechanics. After a specific point you gain the ability to go invisible, but to stop this being too powerful a tool, you cannot move while invisible. You can use this to hide in the path of enemies (who are droids), and go up behind them, destroy them and take their energy to recharge quicker.

There is a cover mechanic, which works very well, and I never had any trouble getting to cover. When you aim you peek out of cover like you would expect, and the enemies give you enough time to aim and fire, before either firing or going back into cover. You can take crouching cover behind blocks or standing cover behind pillars, and a few other objects.

Controlling ARID is easy, jumping and grabbing ledges works as expected and will even be very lenient with you in most cases. Aiming is precise, but some may find it a bit floaty to start with.

Depending which direction you face dictates where you are on-screen, and you are always as far back as possible (within reason). If you face right, you will be on the far left of the screen (see image above), and vice-versa.

The animations a really well done, and everything you do looks like you are doing it. When running your feet look as if they are pushing you forward, and when stop they look like they are stopping you. Except when jumping, you just magically can jump without pushing. But if the game had that animation then the 'platforming' would not be fun.

Conclusion

The Fall uses it inspirations in very interesting ways. The story is simple, but compelling, and the characters are some of the best representations of AI in recent games. The voice acting is really well done, with very monotone AI voices, with one character who has a very human voice. ARID has the occasional emotion, which is in stark contrast to the monotony of the rest if the dialogue. The writing is professional, and emotional, it helps to further the story without explaining everything but allowing you to understand it through exploration and gameplay. With the very few 'click everything' puzzles, I give The Fall a 9/10. The outstanding sound design and soundtrack along with art style and characters The Fall is a must buy for fans of story driven, exploration games.

Find The Fall on Steam, Humble Store, or as it was kickstarted, find the Kickstarter page here.

The Fall was developed by Over The Moon.

Our Rating
9
A side scrolling puzzle games, the fall evokes adventure game ideas. But does it take the good or bad from them?

Featured Correspondent

-- Games are a passion as well as a hobby. Other writing of mine found on on www.etnl.co.uk

Published Apr. 3rd 2017

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