[REVIEW] The Fall (Switch)

Booting The Fall... Success.

In February of this year, Over The Moon had released The Fall Part 2: Unbound, the 2nd game in a trilogy made possible due to a successful Kickstarter. Players could hop right into it and catch up to the story from the beginning with no confusion, but it would seem like a good idea to release the compelling 2014 series entry, The Fall, on Nintendo Switch as well. The Fall offers players who are interested in the story’s start a slightly shorter experience, but a thrilling one nonetheless. If The Fall Part 2: Unbound is the search for who, then The Fall is the search for what. The sci-fi mystery begins here.

Almost immediately, we get to understand where the series gets its name from. After being introduced to a brief cut-scene, our main protagonist A.R.I.D. (or Arid) is soon to be in our control. The series plays mostly like a Point & Click adventure with a large focus on puzzle elements found in the environment, but sprinkled with action sequences to spice it up which is all seemingly fitting to the narrative as well. Moving Arid with the left analog stick or d-pad, players can jump by pressing B for the very little platforming the game has. The feeling of freedom is key to realism, so although platforming is absolute minimal players still won’t feel constrained within areas that remain closed off until puzzles have been completed. It should feel natural to jump and that’s good! Most of your observations are done by pressing ZL which brings up both your gun and flashlight for pointing at objects, done by rotating the right analog stick.

The plot of The Fall touches on different themes which overlap with conceptual ideas of an age of extremely advanced artificial intelligence. Over The Moon has taken it to the next level in their sequel The Fall Part 2: Unbound and with the twists in The Fall will certainly put into context of what came later. Arid is a technologically sophisticated model of a suit, the Mark 7 Combat Suit to be precise, and has suffered serious damage to which she finds herself in control of seeking medical attention; just not for “her”, but for the pilot who remains inside her. Being in critical condition, Arid ultimately decides to perform her primary functions of saving the pilot’s life as this is her objective being programmed so, therefore nothing will stop her from doing just that. Supposedly.

Unlike its sequel which made creative use of ideas as items, The Fall uses good ol’ classic physical objects for items. Players will need to use items in junction with the environment to solve puzzles and at times they can be trickery, but never obtuse. For the most part they feel just right, if not a tad easy. It’s the exploration which feels rewarding to solve the puzzles. Occasionally there will be backtracking or scanning other sections of the environment in order to get what you’re looking for. Should players need help, notes and terminal logs can be found which are stored for easy view when pressing Plus (Start) and choosing “Logs”. These are notes and entries usually written by humans which may provide context to the story, but may also include hints as well. Exploring and puzzles: those alone are fun gameplay feats if done well. It’s the moody atmosphere and fantastic narrative which Over The Moon brings that compliments the overall progress adding a layer of invested interest to further see it through.

With your gun out, a simple press of the right analog stick will toggle between the flashlight and a laser sight. The laser sight also takes over any time you shoot, done by pressing ZR. Combat is quite different from the sequel. For one, it doesn’t take you to a different space world space or “network”. All of it is done in the environment you are presently in. Next, it’s much more cover based. Players can take cover behind crates and walls by pressing L and with the proper timing of breaks between enemy shots and when they’re open, shots can be taken. First players will need to charge their shots, but with an eventual upgrade the gun will react on each press. One suit upgrade is camouflaging with the environment, done by pressing the same input for taking cover, and can be performed at any time as long as it is held down. For the majority, players will remain invincible (and mostly invisible) to incoming shots. Be cautious when taking cover, however, as the AI robots will come to your side if you hide for long without peeping or taking a shot.

On top of the dark atmosphere with dense fog filtering through the glowing lights from both artificial and natural sources, lays an atmospheric sound design. The technological sounds are as good here as they were in the sequel. The soundtrack is provides a moody suspense of what can be a mysterious place in the universe with a feeling of unease while searching for answers. The voice acting is done quite well here, if not more consistent in quality to its successor. The voice actress for Arid remains the same, as it should. The NPC’s do a fine job as well, especially the other major character. The game runs at a sharp 1080p with 60 frames per second and can be played just as well in handheld or tabletop mode. Touchscreen and HD rumble are not supported, however. I managed to complete the game in roughly 4 hours.

The predicaments in The Fall will leave players guessing for those who haven’t played The Fall Part 2: Unbound (which also leaves more mystery). It’s worthy of starting despite being the start of it all.

Summary
The Fall is the first game of a trilogy where the subject of artificial intelligence - what it means and its consequences - are a heavy focus of. Over The Moon excels in this department. For a point & click genre with shooting, they've done the job quite well providing a believable atmosphere and notable plot surprises. It's a pretty short game, but it is sweet. It's worth seeking out its playtime for those interested getting into this series. If you enjoy The Fall, you'll want its sequel as well.
The Stellar
  • Compelling sci-fi themes.
  • Interesting puzzles fitted to the narrative.
  • Good sound and decent voice acting.
The Lesser
  • Relatively short.
7.8
Solid
Gameplay - 7.5
Visual - 7
Audio - 8
Value - 8.5

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