Preview – Human: Fall Flat
High above the city of London, thirty-four stories above to be exact, a build of Human: Fall Flat, a game developed by No Break Games, that was not yet playable by the public was being shown off to members of the press. A physics based puzzle game all about the recurring dream of… well… falling flat onto your face. Each level sees your character, builder Bob, wandering through a dreamscape that takes parts of his day to day life, memories, hopes and fears and turns them into a set of challenging puzzles- all with the goal of leaping out of a convenient exit door and into the void which leads to the next level.
Human: Fall Flat at its heart is quite a charming game. From its quaint art style to its highly comedic tutorial levels the game is a blast of refreshing concepts and gameplay elements that I haven’t felt since shooting my first portal deep in the bowels of the Aperture Science Laboratories. Progression through the levels is simple on paper but rewardingly tricky to enact. Gameplay sees you exploring a variety of well crafted maps that are zany enough to really put across the idea of exploring builder Bob’s recurring dreams whilst running, jumping, grabbing and smashing pretty much everything in sight to reach that all important exit door.
Tomas Sakalauskas, the CEO of No Brakes Games, said he was partially inspired by games like Portal and at first wanted to use a similar style of linear puzzle design, making it so there would be one correct way to solve the problem. I quickly found myself thankful that he decided to drop that concept. One of the biggest joys I found playing Human: Fall Flat was its infinite possibilities for both fun and problem solving. I quickly found that there was no real ‘right way’ to solve the obstacles that were placed before me. Exploration and experimentation is key with Human: Fall Flat and as the game progresses to more wide, complex levels the number of possible solutions multiplies in kind.
A prime example of this was a level I played towards the end of my session with the game. There were three separate boats available for use, a row boat, a raft powered by sail and much to my childish glee a speedboat. Naturally I opted for the third, fastest and most reckless choice and enjoyed the mayhem that came with it, but the fact remains that getting from point A to the end of the boating section could have been done with any of those modes of transport. Though I didn’t get to play it Tomas also let me know that certain electric based puzzles can have the polarity of the electricity reversed, opening up whole new areas in the map that would previously have been inaccessible.
Human: Fall Flat is the most fun when played in its two player split screen mode and luckily enough I got to play alongside Tomas, who was a much better speedboat captain than I. Playing with a second player opens up even more options for problem solving, in a lot of cases cutting down the time you can make your way through levels drastically. At the moment it is unknown if there will be further adaptations to multiplayer functionality, but as of now, there is only local split screen co-op with no online multiplayer.
All in all Human: Fall Flat is a refreshing take on the physics puzzle game genre which is only made better by its charming art style, multiplayer hijinks and particular sense of comedy. Whilst the story of the game has been lost over multiple iterations of development I have been assured that sequels are planned and they will expand on that portion of the game specifically. The release of Human: Fall Flat on the Xbox One does not yet have a date, but porting from PC will begin directly after its launch on July 22nd.