What’s not to love in platformers? They’re usually easy to pick up, and those on the “good” side of the spectrum have solid controls. Decent graphics are also a plus. Faultline is yet another flash game from Nitrome that both looks good and plays well, and it’s got something up its sleeve that makes it more than a simple 2D platformer.
Nitrome is best known for the graphics found in their games. The sprites are colorful, detailed, and well-animated. Faultline and its robotic protagonist are no different. His movements are very fluid, as are those of the environments.
The game is all about the environments, as you find out just a minute in. But not in a graphical way. Sure, they look pretty good for steel walls and fans, but that’s not what I mean. Using your detachable (rocket?) hands, you manipulate the areas around you by folding pieces of it together. This means collapsing walls, pulling whole areas together, and making new paths for you to take to reach your destination. The areas you can fold are clear to see, but you need to decide how to do so and when once you get past the first half of the game.
The platforming aspect takes a backseat to the folding part of the game. The controls are responsive, but you spend more time figuring out how to get past areas than actually doing so. That is not to say the game doesn’t present a challenge. Testing out routes and getting past some of the jumps and one-hit killing obstacles can be tricky, but the real challenge is mental as opposed to reflex-based.
What really strikes me about Faultline is how unique of a concept it is for a flash game, and it’s certainly not something you would expect from the medium. It’s a puzzle platformer at its core, and Nitrome has done a good job of balancing between the two sides of the coin without letting one or the other suffer through any of the game’s 30’s levels. You may not be fighting enemies during your time playing Faultline, but you will find yourself putting a lot of effort into getting past levels with lots of folding options and no clear solution.