The Nintendo Switch has quickly become the platform that many indie titles call home. The same can be said for 2014’s The Fall from Over the Moon studios.
I had never played The Fall on any platform, but the title’s visual style immediately grabbed my attention, prompting me to check out the switch port of the popular action-adventure game. From the moment I first booted up the game, The Fall‘s visuals were something that kept me hooked, despite how often I ended up getting stuck on some form of an environmental puzzle or obstacle that impeded my progress.
The Fall is an episodic adventure game that opens with the player character crash-landing on a desolate planet, a planet that seems to be the dumping grounds for all manners of mechanized cadavers, rusted scrap metal and unruly AI.
Players soon discover that they’re actually controlling a sophisticated AI program known as ARID. The AI has taken control of one Colonel Joseph, specifically his space suit, after the Colonel sustained injuries from the fall, leaving him in an unresponsive state. I found this to be a really interesting way of creating a character, both from a narrative perspective and even a gameplay one, as ARID can interact with the environment and technology present throughout the game thanks to her advanced networking abilities.
I mentioned being impressed with The Fall‘s visual identity, something that I would consider the strongest selling point of the game. The world of The Fall is steeped in darkness, similar to titles such as Limbo. Unlike the former, which evoked a feeling of dread or even fear, The Fall imparted to me a sense of isolation, something I haven’t felt in a game since probably playing a Metroid title back on the Gameboy Advance or Super Nintendo.
In fact, The Fall made me think of another Super Nintendo title, Out of This World, a game that released a little bit prior to my time but one that I discovered years later. Like The Fall, Out of This World featured adventure based action in an impressively large and explorable sci-fi themed world, complete with great graphics and fluid animations—this is something that The Fall reproduces beautifully (with a contemporary coat of paint, of course).
The game looks great on the Nintendo Switch despite some of the text appearing a little small when playing the game in portable mode. One thing that would have been nice is some kind of way to play the game using the touchscreen when in portable mode, as I found the whole pointing and clicking aspect of the game a little slow when using the analogue sticks or directional buttons.
In a world where our phones talk to us without anyone actually being on the other end and cars that drive themselves, a concept such as space suits that can control an individual through the power of AI—despite the host being unconscious—almost feels like something that could actually exist. Of course, this is further strengthened through the well-written dialogue that features voices that manage to strike a balance between robotic and natural.
My only real complaint with The Fall is how often I found myself stuck in the game, only to eventually solve a puzzle through trial and error or some obtuse and unintuitive method. An early example of this can be found when the player needs to retrieve a gun that was taken by a rat-like creature. Luring the creature by placing a saucer of blood will draw it out of its lair, however, I was still unable to retrieve the weapon, effectively halting my progress.
What I failed to realize is that the gun itself could be fired remotely through ARID’s networking ability, something I wish the game would have explained, as having to find the spot in which the prompt becomes available while not drawing too much attention got frustrating, not to mention knowing that the networking function would actually do something in this scenario.
The Fall is a slow burn of a game, making it a title that might not be for everyone. Despite this, however, Switch owners looking for a slower paced, atmospheric puzzle game with a sci-fi story should give the introductory episode of The Fall a look.