Dark Souls is an inspiration for many titles in recent years. Sometimes developers build upon that influence to produce a unique experience that stands out on its own, like with Hollow Knight for instance. Many games, sadly, fail to stand out, becoming completely derivative and yet nowhere near as good as the series it’s based on. Fall of Light: Darkest Edition falls into this category.
From the moment the game opens, Dark Souls fans should be able to tell what they’re in for. The writing and visuals of the introduction have just about plagiarized the beginning of Dark Souls. Unlike that game, however, Fall of Light features a named protagonist: Nyx. He must guide his daughter, Aether, to the last location where light reaches the earth in a world dominated by darkness.
The gameplay is in a top-down perspective. Nyx, equippable with various weapons, can methodically attack, defend, and evade. Aether follows, but she can be guided by hand and commanded to stay. She’s needed to activate doors and checkpoints, the latter of which restores your health, refills your healing items, allows you to level up, and brings fallen foes back to life.
The combat is overly simplistic for a “Souls” game. The different weapons attack at varied speeds and ranges, but you’re limited to a three-hit combo and a heavy attack. Most enemies just stand there and swing at you, so combat usually boils down attacking after they strike while circle-strafing or shielding.
If you couldn’t tell already, the twist in Fallen Light is “Dark Souls but an escort mission.” Enemies never really focus on Aether though, and even if she is slain by a random hit, the player can just stand over her and hold A to revive her. Being around her buffs the player, but losing that buff is the only punishment for letting her die.
If the player dies, on the other hand, Aether will need to be revived in the spot you fell at. What this means is, even if the player chooses to go elsewhere, they need to backtrack all the way to where they were before just to grab Aether. At least if they have any hope of making progress, that is. Without her, you can’t open certain doors nor can you activate checkpoints or level up.
Navigating at all is generally worsened by the top-down viewpoint. Nyx is always near the bottom of the screen, so if you’re heading South, it’s incredibly easy to run into traps or fall into pits. This issue could have been dealt with by either automatically moving the camera ahead of the direction the player is moving, or by letting the player push the camera ahead in any direction with the right stick.
Fall of Light is also pretty poorly optimized. Docked or undocked, the game drops frames frequently. It’s not a graphically intensive game either. Neither the models nor the textures are especially detailed, and there’s very rarely more than a handful of enemies on-screen at once.
The Switch version of Dark Souls: Remastered might have been delayed, but this game’s not going to tide you over. Fall of Light’s combat is dully simplistic, with the escort aspects causing some irritating backtracking. Its presentation does little to differentiate itself from the game it’s based on, and it’s not presented in a particularly good way either. Just go ahead and give Fall of Light: Darkest Edition a pass.
Review: Fall of Light: Darkest Edition (Nintendo Switch)
Fall of Light’s combat is dully simplistic, with the escort aspects causing some irritating backtracking. Its presentation does little to differentiate itself from the game it’s based on nor is it presented in a particularly good way either.