While some games get a lot of coverage leading up to their release, Over The Moon Games' action adventure title The Fall
has been fairly quiet. We were teased with a few details about the game, including the fact that it would be the first part in the three part series. In contrast to the usual human protagonist, The Fall
sees you take control of ARID, the lifeless AI of an astronaut's suit. So, can this inanimate object bring life to this intriguing outer space puzzler?
These domestic tests will include a variety of puzzles
The game throws you straight into the story, with the opening cut scene seeing your character hurtling through space and eventually crashing through the ground of an unknown location. With the human inside the suit out for the count, the suit's AI, ARID, decides to take over and try and guide herself to safety in order to save her unconscious occupant. With the help of a computer AI, ARID must make her way through the facility she has ended up in, completing numerous tests in order to get to the medical bay and get her pilot some much needed attention. The game's story is intriguing from start to end, and your interest in ARID and her journey only grows the more time you spend with her. With The Fall
only being the first part of a trilogy, the story ends rather quickly and abruptly, leaving the gamer with many unanswered questions which will hopefully be answered sooner rather than later in the following two parts of the game.
To explore this unknown facility, you will spending a lot of time directing your flashlight at various items and objects around you. This simplistic point-and-click style nature of the game works well against the mystery and intrigue surrounding its story, with different items having significant ways to advance the plot. Shining your light on a item will tell you something about it, or maybe even give you a hint to how it can help you, but ultimately you will be wanting to try and interact with the item in order to pick it up. Picking an item up allows you to keep it in your inventory, which means you will probably need it in order to solve an upcoming puzzle. Luckily, if thinking outside of the box isn't really your thing, you should be able to solve the majority of the unique puzzles with a trial and error technique. For example, in the first cave area if you pick up all the items along the path that you can, and interact each with everything in the area, you will be able to progress through the level with little trouble.
If something is still working, you'll probably want to grab it!
The puzzles within the game have been thought out and designed really well, and often one puzzle relates into an earlier or upcoming puzzle; with everything from causing chemical reactions to blow up a queen slug, to helping an old lady cross the road, to turning a gold coin into a wire. These are unique puzzles that you probably haven't encountered in many other games, if any. The point-and-click style is continually used all the way through, and you'll want to be shining your torch on every area of every room in order to find hidden items and areas. You are mostly left to figure these puzzles out for yourself, with not much direction given at all throughout the game, but a similar trial and error technique can again be applied with only a couple of puzzles possibly being able to stump you altogether. The difficulty is set just right for most casual gamers, and as the game is fairly short, there isn't an overwhelming amount to solve anyway, but just enough to keep you entertained and your brain working the whole way through.
Where the game takes an interest turn though, is in turning the point-and-click puzzler into a shooter. Early in the cave level, you will solve a puzzle that allows you to retrieve a gun. This can then be switched with your flashlight at any time in order to fight the robots around the facility, as well as any creepy crawlies you wish to shoot, unlock ladders, and break various items within the levels. The proposition of shooting elements in the game shouldn't put anyone off, as there is only a simple aim and shoot which needs to be mastered in order to progress. More experienced shooter gamers will enjoy the ability to go into cover, vault over items, do higher damage headshots and kill via takedowns, as well as being able to unlock abilities such as camouflage and rapid fire through story progression. Taking the game in this obscure direction is also included really well, without having an over-reliance on it, even if aiming with the right stick can be a little difficult to keep on target at times.
This is as close to a hint as you'll probably get
The game is designed with the stereotypical space style; lots of darkened environments with plenty of blue and black backgrounds. The areas themselves are fairly simple with not a lot going on in the background, but this forces you to focus on the foreground and search for the puzzle solutions easier without fear of distraction. The simplistic style of the game is also reflected in the menus and the in-game speech boxes, which pay homage to the old style of computers from a few years back. The long rectangular boxes with white outlines, along with the "menu.exe" as you press the start button all hint a throwback to an older time of gaming. The sometimes blurred and mismatched text in the menu and the game's opening screen hint at problems later explored in the game, but the feeling that something is wrong and the sense of anticipation is there right from the start.
The game's achievement list is all fun-filled and unique, with a total of seventeen achievements for you to try and complete during your puzzling. Only a few of the game's achievements will be gotten through simply playing the story, such as escaping the cave
right at the start, and even the ending gives you a choice
, each of which earns you an achievement, so you will have to be playing the game through at least twice. Those fearing the time commitment shouldn't worry as your second playthrough should only take you about an hour. The rest of the achievements will require you to react quickly
to some important moments in the story, and some will even require you to do the wrong thing
at the puzzles. If you don't do the achievement when it comes along, you will have to do another play through as you won't be able to go back to the exact achievement scenario once you have progressed past certain bits, but surely killing some fish
is worth the extra time.
What The Fall
seems to do so well is bring together a variety of different genres, including point-and-click, action adventure, shooter, stealth and puzzler. The game excels best in its puzzle elements, with unique and exciting puzzles that will keep you guessing and force you to think outside the box in order to solve them. The story also adds to the interest and intrigue of the game, and ends on a cliff-hanger that leaves the player waiting with baited breath for the following two parts of the game. The Fall
is definitely more than worth your time and money, and whilst the experience may be over quickly, it will certainly be one that you thoroughly enjoy.
- Brings a group of different genres together very well
- Interesting and unique puzzles that require you to think outside the box
- Movement can feel a little clunky sometime, especially when jumping
- Aiming the gun with the right stick is not always precise
The reviewer spent approximately five hours completing the game twice, exploring the facility with ARID and making her way through the various puzzles, unlocking all of the game's seventeen achievements. This download of the game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.