Robotic looking and ominous feeling, Black The Fall was a very intriguing experience. I can’t even remember the last time I played a game that downplayed its color scheme like this! The storyline is vague for the most part, so don’t expect to know exactly what’s going on. I felt the message it was trying to relay was peppered throughout the game. It had its ups and downs, but I’m glad I stuck with it.
Simplistic in design, Black The Fall starts out with no direction to ease you in. There was no instruction of what my purpose was or what I was supposed to do. Shrouded in mystery, I proceeded through the game. You quickly learn your character is basically a type of prisoner, trapped in this place and looking for a way out.
Puzzle after puzzle, you quickly learn that you need to figure out each room’s secrets before proceeding to the next room. There are no traditional levels, it’s just a seamless room-to-room progression. It leaves a feeling of monotony; you come across other guys who look like you, stuck in their own type of purgatory. But your character refuses this life; he wants out, and will do whatever it takes to escape.
Design-wise, this was an interesting game. It was dark and felt depressing in its color scheme. Mostly gray tones with low, creepy dungeon-esque flickering lighting and red warning lights were a common theme throughout. Yellow colored items indicated you might be able to use or activate the item to proceed. There were lots of metal surfaces, which had a nice reflecting effect in the low lighting conditions.
There are different types of enemies – workers who will kill you if they see you moving, turrets that shoot on sight, mechs that will obliterate you. Navigating all the enemies who will kill on sight, exercising care and good timing is your only hope for escape. You’ll find a laser pointer not long after starting, you use this to open doors and activate things to progress.
Never uniformly the same view, the camera adjusts and swoops around you for optimal views. You don’t JUST progress from left to right. For example, I came up a spiraling ramp and the camera moved fluidly around me. But the game is fairly strict in which way it wants and allows you to go.
I didn’t have a terrible experience with the controls, I just wish there was more options to explore the environment. Most of the time there was no music, you just heard turrets or fire blasting your way, realistic types of noises that otherwise gave a sense of quietness. There were a couple Easter eggs that I found, like a new hat here or there.
A little further along in the game, you come across a little robot dog friend. He starts helping you on your journey, and you can command him to go somewhere specific or stay where he is. He can arch his body to allow you to jump on him and reach things you may not otherwise be able to reach. The puzzles become more complex, and you won’t be able to progress unless you position your dog somewhere or so something specific first.
In a way, I really didn’t like there not being specific levels or knowing exactly where you were. As the puzzles became more difficult, I had to find full gameplay trailers to figure some puzzles out. Another thing that took away from my experience a little was I felt the character was a little slow in response time. But it mostly held up without me experiencing any glitches, which was nice.
Black The Fall occupied my time and was interesting to play, if you can get past the more difficult puzzles that I got frustrated with. I know there are hidden things that I missed, and things that are so well hidden that I will NEVER find, which I feel took away from my own experience. The color scheme was mysteriously interesting, and the little dog made things much cuter and fun. All in all, if you’re looking for a time-killing puzzle game, I think Black The Fall would be right up your alley!
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.