The Fall – Review

The Fall, from Over The Moon Games, is a sci-fi action adventure game. It sets you up in a universe you know nothing about as an artificial intelligence called A.R.I.D, on board a combat suit. The suit is designed to protect the human occupant and the AI takes control of suit functions to so that you as the player can complete the goal of getting medical attention for the occupant.

The Fall has a simple side-scrolling mechanic that reminds me a lot of Another World, and is presented in a 2D environment with minimal colour and lighting. This is meant to allow you to discover what is going on where you have landed and why there are dead bodies and dead robots everywhere. Using a controller seems to be the best way to play the game as the mechanics work better with a controller. Aiming is done by the right analog stick and the left analog stick gives you direction. The bumper buttons provide interaction options and allow you to fire your weapon (eventually). Game puzzles will have you walking around a bit and trying everything you have in your inventory on pretty much whatever you can interact with, like the old Sierra adventure game days. The clues are there for the most part but generally do not always make sense.

The story is at least a really interesting component of The Fall, and you find yourself at times trying to learn more but also obey the rules the game says your AI has, so this can lead you to not asking certain questions of the other NPCs in the game. I’m not sure if that has some effect on the game’s outcome, or whether throughout the next episodes it will have some sort of effect on the story.

Given the ease of use with the controllers, I can see this making the port to consoles at some point in the future but not until the bugs are resolved. And there are still a few. The controller works well until you transition levels and then it reverts to a combination of controller and keyboard. I was told the fix was to just use the jump button on the controller, but this lead to a few deaths when enemies were on the screen very close by, as I could not camouflage or take cover quickly enough after I had gained full controller actions back. Checking the support forums on Steam, I could see a large number of controller issues listed with the current builds across PC and Linux at least. The other thing I noticed while trawling the forums were users complaining about poor translations to other languages, French was one that I saw almost immediately. I think if you want to translate to other languages, maybe you should find someone who can localise the text properly or leave in English until this becomes an option financially. The game did crash back to the desktop once for me and at times the controller response was slow too.

The real kicker though is the very short game play time. Three hours is all it took for me to finish the game and along with $9.99(US) price tag, that it was Kickstarter funded, has controller issues and localisation is subpar, I don’t think this represents value for money. Also putting the brakes on the experience is that this is episode one. The better option would have been to release the whole game rather than break it up and charge more money for each subsequent episode, if that’s what they intend to do.

Is it worth buying now? Not really, given the price tag and short gameplay time – you would be better to buy it once all episodes are out. But if you’re looking for a short diversion, don’t mind wrestling through a few bugs and think $9.99 is good value, then go fetch from Steam. And if the controller issues are sorted, it’d be great to see this come to console as a whole game with all episodes.

The Fall is available now for PC, Mac and Linux.

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