Releasing on the Switch after its own sequel had made it to the eShop, The Fall is developed by Over The Moon and it’s best be described as a 2D side-scrolling-puzzle-story-adventure. It is also listed as being an action game, but I’ll we’ll look into that a little later.
There are two reasons I can glean as to why the The Fall is called The Fall. First of all, the game opening cinematic is literally the player falling out of space onto a foreign planet. Secondly, a reference to everyones great, great, great grandparents Adam & Eve whose antics are dubbed “The Fall” pertaining to the incident when they ate from the wrong tree and fell from grace. My reason for this belief? It doesn’t take long to find someone crucified and crucifixes seem to be a main decorative feature of the landscape you traverse.
You take control of ARID the AI that resides in the suit of “Josephs.” With Joseph not responding and presumed to be in critical condition, ARID takes control and must find medical attention for its human whilst adhering to the rules that govern it.
The Fall is a mixture of genres, but for the most part stands out for its puzzles. Throughout your objective you’ll need to figure out how to overcome obstacles and push the boundaries of your rules to make it through certain areas. Equipped with a flashlight, gun and whatever else you find along the way these tools all come in handy to solve puzzles. The puzzles are pretty well made. Information is given to you organically, but never spoon fed to you, so when you do figure out where to use a specific item it feels satisfying. A couple of puzzles I found to be a bit ambiguous (like helping a cardboard lady cross a street), but these were the exceptions.
Puzzles aren’t the only thing you will find in The Fall, it also boasts some light action mechanics. These were a little underwhelming and the gun works best as a tool to progress through puzzles. The encounters aren’t bad, but they aren’t fun either and serve as a mindless distraction. Thankfully there aren’t a lot of these sequences so they never bog down the game, you will spend the majority of your time solving puzzles.
A real big hook for The Fall is its story. In fact it won Game of the Year for Best Story from Giant Bomb. As I briefly touched upon, ARID must push the boundaries of its rules to make it through the environment. This opens up some interesting plot points and questions for what is the right thing to do. Does finding loopholes in the law that governs it make ARID faulty or is it truly obeying the law by finding these loopholes? Stuff like that. One aspect of the story that did frustrate me was the ending. Of course, I won’t go in to detail, but I will say this the sequel is called “Part Two.” In other words, I found that there were a few too many loose threads and questions left unanswered.
As well as providing an intriguing story The Fall also delivers some excellent voice acting and writing. Two things that can really make or break a good story. The writing at times had me genuinely laughing at the reactions ARID would have to certain situations as it delivered its response in such a deadpan robotic manner. The AI that is still functioning in the facility you are in also delivered a great performance and was a genuinely funny character as it has tried to emulate human mannerisms and vocal patterns.
The story and writing come together to give you an experience you will want to proceed through. On top of that it blends comedy and drama very well. The themes touched on can be serious and the tension is relaxed in certain segments, but never smashed to pieces by the humour.
The aesthetic is a bit dull in The Fall, perhaps having to work with budget constraints it isn’t all that visually appealing to me. Now it isn’t awful to look at and it clearly does accomplish what it sets out to deliver, that being a dark, desolate and decaying facility, but the detail felt to be lacking to me. The sound design was particular good. There aren’t any memorable tunes to recollect, but the atmosphere is set and intensified by the background music.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for The Fall was provided by Plan of Attack.