Indie titles are known for their unique visual styles. This has never been more true than with Light Fall, a stunningly beautiful 2D adventure platformer and first major project from Bishop Games, an indie studio based out of Quebec City. With haunting artistic designs and gameplay that echoes Limbo and Bastion, this title is sure to entice both experienced and new gamers alike.
Light Fall takes place in the world of Numbra, which has been awash with mysterious happenings; its citizens have inexplicably started to vanish. As well, unexplainable, lethal crystals of light have started to emerge along the terrain, leaving a deadly wake along the tranquil, silhouetted landscape. It is up to you, the hero, to discover the truth about this forgotten land, and about yourself while doing so.
Writer Ben Archer has created an extensive pantheon to discover as the game progresses. You will meet mythical creatures, peculiar enemies, and subtle peaks at indomitable gods that will aid or hinder your journey. The storyline so far is engaging in its depth, yet restrained. Although only a small fraction has been revealed at GDC and PAX East, it is obvious that there is a well developed backstory, which offers great potential.
Throughout, you will guided by the voice of an enigmatic narrator, voiced by Tim Simmons, whose voice has appeared in many games such as Torchlight, Neverwinter, and Heroes of Newerth. He will serve as a tutor for the first part of the game, which is a nice touch that makes the tutorial portion necessary to learn some of the unique mechanics, seem organic.
Throughout this game, it is clear how much care and thought Bishop’s artist, Mathieu Robillard has placed into the visuals he has designed to create an ambience of a peaceful world. The platforms, characters, and terrain come to life like a shadow play against a screen. This effect is only highlighted by the vivid backgrounds that emulate rich, twilight hues and endless starry skies. The design itself demonstrates that in this game, it is clear that those shrouded in darkness are the heroes of the story, while all that it light is sinister and deadly.
All of this ambiance created through the story and the incredible artwork is only amplified by the cinematic score designed by lead composer Jean-Philippe Tessier.
But none of this would matter without the gameplay. Thanks to programmer David Dion-Paque the controls are clean and well balanced, especially for a platformer. The movement of the character feels fast, yet controlled. You can actually feel the speed of the main character as you navigate the terrain, glide across gaps and leap upwards throughout your quest. As the game progresses, it becomes more challenging, but not unattainably so. You gain a variety of abilities that add to the fun, including a variety of jumping and wall climbing abilities.
But what set this game apart from most platformers, is the shadow core, a useful tool that evolves with the character throughout the game. Players can summon the shadow core at will, and control its placement so that it can be used as a shield, a platform, a counterweight, and for many other purposes throughout Light Fall’s progression. It gives a sense of open-endedness to the gameplay, as with every new evolution, the variety of solutions to various problems and puzzles that present themselves. If this aspect is taken advantage of, this piece alone could make for a more than captivating game that has a fantastic amount of replayability. Even after dozens of playthroughs of the preview, each time felt like a new, exciting experience.
Light Fall has already been Greenlit on Steam, and will be released for PC and Mac, although the date is still to be determined. A Kickstarter was announced earlier this month, and with almost three weeks to go, Bishop Games is almost halfway to achieving their $20 000 goal. If the finished game can match the potential already displayed with the preview, there is no doubt that it will be a huge success that will put Bishop Games on the map.