Review: The Fall

Another successful Kickstarter comes to the eShop!

By Anthony Vigna. Posted 09/04/2014 09:00 2 Comments     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Intriguing storyline; Great voice acting; Fantastic setting with dark ambiance.
Poison Mushroom for...
Puzzle solving can be trial and error; Combat is too simple; Prone to crashes; Can be finished in a few hours.

(Warning: There are some minor story spoilers ahead!)

The existence of games like The Fall proves the importance of Kickstarter for independent game developers. John Warner, developer at Over The Moon Games, was only able to make this game through the the support of his online backers. In the end, Warner wins for creating his dream project, and we win as gamers by getting to experience something truly unique on the Wii U eShop.

In The Fall, you play as an AI inside a combat suit named ARID (Armored Robotics Interface Device) that is trying to save a human pilot after a fall that renders him unconscious. Even though the human pilot is unable to move his body, ARID has full control over his suit and can help him find medical attention. Because you are playing as AI, you are bound by the game’s version of the Three Laws of Robotics:

1. Must not misrepresent reality.
2. Must be obedient.
3. Must protect active pilot.

The implementation of these laws really make the story shine. As you can imagine, ARID will be thrown into situations where it will have to question these laws when trying to save the human pilot. You’ll also be limited in what abilities you can utilize, as the AI can only activate them if the human pilot is in critical condition. This is shown when you are falling to the ground in the beginning of the game, as the suit activates an antimatter shield to soften fall damage. But as the game progresses, ARID may have to throw the human pilot in mortal danger to activate new abilities for progression. The way ARID finds loopholes for its restrictions as an AI really makes the story engaging and interesting as a whole.

The story is further enhanced by the setting itself. Taking inspiration from Limbo, the world of The Fall has a dark ambiance that really sets the tone of the game. With only a flashlight on your gun to help you see, the darkness of the world will make you feel alone in an environment devoid of life. At times of tension, the eerie soundtrack will also make you afraid of the unknown areas ahead. The Fall also features great voice acting, which really brings the game to life. Everything about the game’s presentation compliments the story perfectly and really makes it stand out as an exceptional sci-fi title.

Even though it might not look like it, The Fall is primarily a point -and-click adventure game. By using your flashlight to shine on objects, you’ll learn more about them and how you can use them to your advantage. For example, finding an arm on the ground can help ARID grab a key card through a previously unreachable area. Most of the time, it’s fairly simple to figure out the use of each item in your inventory. However, as the game progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to locate usable objects and find out their specific purpose to progress. If you explore thoroughly, you may be able to find some hints to help you out, but they can be vague at times. Because of this, puzzles can just boil down to trial and error.

There are also combat sections within the game, but they are far too simple to be entertaining. In every battle, you’ll only need to take cover and wait for the right time to fire back. There’s nothing fun about waiting like this because you’re just being rewarded for having patience instead of actual skill. Combat becomes even simpler once you obtain camouflage as well, since it gives you the ability to hide whenever you want without the need for cover. The combat could have been used as a means to enhance fear and tension within the game, so it’s a shame to see it being implemented so poorly.

Another problem I had with The Fall was that it was prone to crashing during these combat sections. The game generally runs smoothly because exploration is the main component of the gameplay, but crashes still happen somewhat frequently during combat. Granted, the game does have an auto-save feature, but it’s still annoying to reset the Wii U in order to keep playing. Hopefully, the game will be given a stability patch in the future to fix this issue.

The Fall is still a great, unique title on the eShop, but you need to know what you’re getting into before you play it. In terms of gameplay, The Fall struggles to deliver anything special. But if you’re looking for a game with a genuinely dark sci-fi setting and an intriguing story, then you’ll definitely enjoy exploring as ARID. Being the first part of a episodic series, The Fall is only a few hours long, but it’s still an enjoyable eShop title that’s worth your time.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

2 Responses to “Review: The Fall

  • 1294 points
    Robert Marrujo says...

    Really wish my hard drive wasn’t full, I’d be downloading this in a heartbeat.

  • 849 points
    ejamer says...

    Wow, this game sounds cool. Definitely something that is right up my alley.

    Sadly, it will likely fall victim to “just not enough time for more games”. Definitely something to file away for future reference though, the review has convinced me that it would be worth coming back to later.

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