If you like your games dark, existential and awesome “The Fall” is here for you. I wasn't familiar with this game off-the-bat. It just sort of appeared. However, once I looked into it, turned out this was a Kickstarter and brainchild of John Warner and Over The Moon Games. In 2013 Warner began to take his game from page to screen and the finished product is kind of mind blowing.
“The Fall” begins with a man in a combat suit falling down to a planet’s surface. Just before impact the suit initiates a shield that softens the landing somewhat. Here is where ARID, your onboard artificial intelligence, takes over. ARID detects that the human contained within has taken damage during the fall. She then decides she will do whatever she can in order to deliver her human safely to a medical facility to be treated.
The game play is a platformer that mixes in adventure and puzzle elements. When you first take control, several abilities of your suit are offline from the damage that was taken in the fall. ARID finds ways to circumvent her own protocol in order to gain these abilities back and to get past a number of challenges along the way.
Ironically, you have crash landed on a planet where machines are taken to be formatted and re-purposed due to malfunction. The planet is devoid of human life and completely run by machines. Any human life has long since passed. This makes it very challenging for ARID to take her human to a medical facility, considering all the machines automatically believe she is malfunctioning. They don't realize or care that she has a human in need of medical attention inside.
“The Fall” gives you a pistol with a flashlight on it. You use the light to find certain points to interact with. The game allows you to interact or network with certain spots. For example, you can shine your light on a computer and choose to network with it, or shine your light at an elevator call switch and choose to interact with it. You then have to shine your flashlight at everything and constantly read messages that pop-up in order to advance. It is like a side scrolling point and click, in that way.
It isn't all point and click, you are able to do combat with the robots that are sent to capture you. The combat is simple but satisfying, it consists of duck-and-cover combat with an added cloaking ability. You will need your combat skills. There is a robot called The Caretaker who is trying incessantly to capture you and have you formatted and disabled. There are several clues that you find early in the game to elude to the fact that The Caretaker might have had a lot to do with the way this world ended up uninhabited.
The thing that really sets this game apart and makes it so good is the amazing artwork in this world. It is dark, claustrophobic and beautiful. The lighting mechanics are eye-popping and well done. All of it lends to the atmosphere and really takes you from the comfort of your home and places you into this environment. The conversations between ARID and an AI that is trying his best to assist you is a really charming part of the game. For some reason I was reminded of “The Brave Little Toaster” during the gameplay. This bleak world where machines are thrown away for discovering they have a self is bitter-sweet.
“The Fall” is a three part episodic journey. This was only the first part and I am totally in for the rest of the ride through this world. It truly is one of those worlds that begs to be explored and expanded. “The Fall” is a cult classic if there ever was one.
“The Fall” was reviewed on Xbox One but is available on other platforms and consoles as well.