Black The Fall Review & Competition
What do you get if you throw some classic titles into a blender, pour it out and put some dressing on it? Taking obvious inspiration from titles such as Another World, Abe’s Odyssey and Inside, Sand Sailor Studios has your mind ticking amongst this noir platform-puzzler, Black the Fall, but is the story as gripping as said classics and how do the puzzles fare?
Black the Fall sees you playing as a machinist trying to escape the clutches of a communist regime; one could say a Mudokon escaping Rupture Farms if we were to compare to Abe’s Odyssey – given that this title almost plays the same. For example, once you progress a little, you’ll gain a laser pointer that you will use to command other machinists in helping you escape whether it being telling them to hit switches to open paths for you or to distract the communists for you so you have chance to escape the scene. Sound familiar? Although there are strong similarities between the two titles, this is still a much darker title that may even be more thought-provoking with it’s puzzles.
Expect to die a lot. In fact, expect to die a hell of a lot, almost at every scene you come across. The first time you cross to the next scene, you’ll be observing your surroundings – seeing what’s going on around you, then you’ll more than likely try to make it across just to see what will happen. We know what will happen. You will die. Whether it being by the cameras that see you and shoot you on the spot or by one of the communists catching you in the act, or simply by falling to your demise, you will die. Then it’s time to work out what you need to do exactly. This is where the similarities between Black the Fall and Another World come into play. There are no hints except for the odd sign on the wall a la Abe’s Odyssey, so you’re expected to do a lot of mind-work. Even though the controls are simple, the environment isn’t.
At first, the puzzles may come across as daunting, maybe even infuriating, but once you solve the puzzle to reach the next area you’ll be kicking yourself because they really are that simple. But the puzzles are designed in a way that it forces you to think outside of the box, when you really don’t need to. For instance, one of the very first sections you’ll arrive at a locked door with a security camera above it. “Lets just walk up to it and see if we can get past this locked door with ease, with an obvious hazard above it” – and so you do, and you die. Second time you’ll try crouching to see if that does the trick and maybe somehow the camera doesn’t see you. Splat! By the fourth attempt it was then realised a little back there was a suspiciously looking bicycle. “Let’s ride it….oooh that actually does something!” and lo and behold, peddling on the bike brings a mine cart to surface and conveniently presses a switch in the background, paving way to open the door. Alas you are free but then splat once more! Yeah, the door maybe open but you still have to be quick in getting through.
There is a sinister story to be told in Black the Fall, one that isn’t as obvious to begin with, but once you start playing through the story; escaping the communists, you’ll start to learn more about this ‘freedom’ you once dreamt of. A thought-provoking story to go with the puzzles, albeit quite a short story that you could complete in one morning, but that’s not to say it won’t be money well spent – because it is. The only trouble with this title, is that it leaves you wanting so much more. Something tells us that there may just be more to tell in the future.
Black the Fall is available to download now from the Xbox Store, priced at £11.99.
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About: Stephen Loftus
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