Awarded GOTY by Giant Bomb in 2014, The Fall is a unique experience that combines action, puzzles & metroid-vania style gameplay. Inspired by the likes of Limbo, Metroid & Monkey Island, The Fall was largely the work of a single person; founder of Over The Moon Games, John Warner. Warner designed the game to be a trilogy, it was successfully partially crowdfunded in 2013 and the second part of the story is expected out soon.
ARID’s program activates after crashing on an unknown planet. The human pilot within the combat suit is unconscious, and it is ARID’s duty to protect him at all costs! As she progresses into her twisted and hostile surroundings, driven to find medical aid before it is too late, the realities of what transpired on this planet force ARID to reflect upon her own protocols. ARID’s journey to save her pilot ultimately challenges the very rules that are driving her.
Navigating the decaying lower levels of the industrial facility she finds herself in, A.R.I.D. is captured. Then, she’s subjected to an evaluation by an android identifying itself as the Caretaker. She is unable to prove her primary function to the Caretaker. You see, the pilot is non-responsive.
Unable to lie to the Administrator due to her basic programming barring her from “misrepresenting reality”. A.R.I.D. admits to her actions and is declared faulty. Forced to pass re-calibration testing as a domestic robot to avoid being destroyed. A.R.I.D. undertakes the tests with a significant challenge. This is caused by the decrepit nature of the facility.
It’s very easy to see the comparisons to the Monkey Island franchise. The Fall functions largely like a point & click adventure. As A.R.I.D you walk through the side-scrolling environment. Then you’ll shine your flashlight on points of interest, some of which contain useful information. Most that’s essential if you wish to progress. You pick up items which are placed into a simplistic inventory system and must utilize them in a variety of well-designed puzzles. The puzzles that you do tackle aern’t particularly challenging. Still, they do require just enough thought to be satisfying once you do find the solution.
Eventually, you’ll acquire a gun which can be used for puzzles and combat. You’ll come up against hostile security robots. These shouldn’t cause you much trouble due to the generous checkpoint system.
The Fall may look and feel like other games that you’ve played before. In actual fact it manages to be it’s very own beast entirely. For such a simplistic game it manages to tell an extremely compelling narrative. One that’s based in a very dark, atmospheric environment. At times, you’ll have to depend solely on your flashlight to see anything. This adds greatly to the already creepy enough abandoned robotics factory.
As you make your way through the game you’ll uncover little hints at what may have taken place in the facility to leave it in such disarray. I particularly enjoyed the interactions between A.R.I.D & the Administrator, these conversations lead to some grimly funny moments.
The Fall is a fine example of why ID@Xbox succeeds, it’s a true hidden gem that I highly recommend. The first part of this story is extremely short with it only taking me around 3 hours to complete but I only paid £1.20 after it recently had a 85% off sale, that’s quite a deal indeed.
As far as short Sci-Fi stories go, this atmospheric side-scrolling puzzler is one that shouldn’t be missed. It’s only the beginning but it wraps the first part up in enticing fashion with plenty of mystery to leave you wanting more.