GAME NAME: The Fall
DEVELOPER(S): Over The Moon
PUBLISHER(S): Over The Moon
PLATFORM(S): Nintendo Wii U
RELEASE DATE(S): August 26th, 2014
One genre that never seemed to make it out of the 16-bit era was the 2D side-scrolling puzzle genre. There have been a few cases through the years, but none ever seem to take it back to the golden days of games like Out of this World, Flashback and Prince of Persia. Over The Moon takes on this long since forgotten genre with The Fall which first debuted on Steam and has now made it’s way onto the Nintendo Wii U home console.
The story has you playing as a Mark-7 suit, named Arid, that has protocols to protect it’s pilot Colonial Josephs who was injured and unconscious from the crash landing into an underground facility. As you progress through the narrative, certain abilities will become unlocked to help you complete tasks (think Super Metroid in terms of keeping you out of areas until you progress far enough). The setting of a mostly abandoned decommissioning facility definitely has its creepy moments, such as the bodies hanging on crosses or the giant slugs and razor-teethed fish. The biggest chunk of the story will have you figuring out how to solve different puzzles to earn 8 merit points to prove that you can be a domesticated droid to help you gain access to the medical area. I will not post any spoilers but will let you know that this is the first part of a trilogy so be prepared for a cliffhanger.
Taking controls of Arid will feel really clunky at first, but a seasoned gamer will pick up really quickly and it will feel like second nature. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure a casual gamer would be able to grasp the control scheme so easily. You move with your left analog stick, of course, and you aim your flashlight or red-dot targeting scope with the right-stick. You can switch between the the flashlight and the targeting reticle by clicking in the right-stick. Shooting is done with the ZR button with the red precision laser out and an action menu is brought up with the R button when you have your flashlight out. This is where the controls get tricky. After you bring up the action menu with the R button, you can then cycle through the actions with the left-stick and finally pressing A will choose the action of your desire. It felt comfortable to me after a few minutes, but it was painful watching my wife stumble through it for a good 15 minutes before handing me the controller back.
The art design and visuals in The Fall are absolutely gorgeous. The game as a likening to Limbo or other games where it is mostly using a darkened silhouette. There is some color added to the affair with the flashlight, but most of the game will have you traveling in the dark. The sound is also top notch. This is some of the best voice work I have heard in an indie game and it rivals it’s competitors in the major developer realm as well. The interactions between Arid, the Caretaker and the Facility A.I. really keep you engaged in the story and at no point did I ever feel bored or disinterested.
It’s funny how games seem to come in droves. I’m not necessarily talking about one genre but more in the grand scheme of how the last two games I have reviewed are from genres that don’t get much love and both games were shining examples of why they should. For fans of Out of this World or Prince of Persia, this is an easy recommendation, as it surpasses those titles in every way. Anyone who has never played those games and is on the fence about The Fall, I say don’t even hesitate and go grab this game, you will not be disappointed. The story is great, the voice acting is top-notch and it all really makes for an engaging experience. I can not wait to play the next chapter in Over The Moons trilogy The Fall.