PN Review: The Fall (Wii U eShop)
My review for the fall is a little bit late but I am glad that I took the time to play through the entire experience before beginning my critique. In The Fall players take control of ARID, an Armored Robotic Interface Device onboard a mark—7 combat suit, and puzzle their way through a fantastically creepy world to find medical aid for their injured pilot. From the start Over the Moon Games does a great job developing the story and setting the mood for the rest of the experience. While The Fall does have its faults, I had a tremendous experience with this small indie title.
From the beginning players are hit with a huge sense of isolation. This feeling is amplified by the wonderful and eerie music and sound design. The dark, damp environments are filled with degradation and shocking set pieces. What is even more strange is that players never really discovers what happened on this planet by the time the end of the game is reached. There is something that is unveiled by completing the game but to avoid spoilers I won’t delve too much into the story. Readers of my review will just have to explore the depths for themselves to uncover the secrets of this strange world.
My disappointments with this title are few. First, are the puzzles within The Fall. Most puzzles within the game are fairly self-explanatory and range in difficulty but Over the Moon Games provides very small clues as to what needs to be accomplished to solve them. Most of the time it is up to the player to explore and use trial and error to solve these puzzles with little guidance. This typically wouldn’t be an issue but right in the middle of the game the puzzles become ruthless and for me brought the momentum that The Fall had built up to a screeching halt. This issue began with the crying baby. In most cases I will spend quite a long time trying to figure things out on my own in a game but The Fall broke me. After a couple of hours of wandering around trying everything and anything I could think of, I broke down and consulted a walk through to help get through a couple of puzzles during the ‘testing’ areas of The Fall. After the testing portion of the game, puzzles did become a less frustrating and I was able to get through the rest of the experience on my own but the middle of the game had me almost pulling my hair out.
Second, the game will stutter throughout the entire game and, additionally, it will inevitably freeze up on players during the games more intense final sequences. The Fall suffers from graphics that stutter often. More disappointingly, during the final portions of the game during some of the more intense gameplay the game froze up on me several times in a row in the same portion of the game. This can most likely be fixed with a patch and hopefully soon because the freezing definitely put a damper on my experience with the game. The stutter I can get past but this may bother others more than myself.
Finally, the controls for interacting with other objects was a little odd. This is more of a small personal gripe but the interaction interface is a little strange. While many point and click sort of experiences like The Fall use one button to interact with things, Over the Moon Games designed a button push to navigate a menu interaction style which I was not a fan of. This may not bother some gamers but was enough of an annoyance to me to mention in my review. Especially since the inventory could have been displayed via the GamePad’s handy touchscreen.
For me two out of these three issues really took me out of the game and the experience suffered because of them but The Fall is still a great game. Despite its faults there are a lot of things I rather enjoyed while playing The Fall. I loved The Fall because of its story, atmospheric and tense moments, and the surprising turns it takes up until the end. The voice acting is spectacular. I really enjoyed the overall design of the game and how it made you feel as if you were controlling or experiencing the game as ARID. All of the games menus, interactions, and other game experiences feel like they are a part of ARID itself. Even the puzzle solving was implemented in an interesting fashion during one of the final scenes of the game (sorry for the vagueness here but again trying to remain spoiler free).
The Fall was a bit short, even with getting hopelessly stuck in the middle of the game, but it seems that Over the Moon has more planned for players, ARID, and The Fall since the game experience ended with ‘To be continued’. I just hope that Over the Moon Games takes what they’ve learned with the first go around and makes the second outing even better.
Overall The Fall is a fantastic experience. My hope is that Over the Moon Games fixes the freezing/stuttering issue soon which could improve the game experience by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately the difficulty of the puzzles is a completely different issue altogether and can’t be simply patched but that is easily overcome with some help via Miiverse. With a ‘To be continued’ at the end of the game it is safe to say that we have not seen the end of The Fall but rather just a portion of the entire experience. Having enjoyed this first ‘episode’ I look forward to what Over the Moon Games has in store for Wii U owners in the future. Anyone who is looking for a great sci-fi game or even just a good puzzle/adventure game should check out The Fall.