I have done reviews before, but I’m going to try something different with my review of Black the Fall. I’ve found a lot of video game reviews are pretty similar, so I figured I’d try something a little different. Let me know if you prefer the old format better.
This review of Black the Fall is long in coming, and I apologize for that. The delay is also why The Saturday Review is happening on a Thursday. Anyway, Black the Fall has a lot of good puzzle mechanics, and rewards the player for thinking on their toes. However, at several points, including falling into a never ending abyss, it is clear that the game is still unfinished. Overall I’d say it was a fun game that didn’t feel like it was punishing me for failing or dying. If you enjoy puzzle games that tell a story through the puzzles themselves and the backgrounds, then this is definitely a game you should give a try.
The animation in Black the Fall was fairly smooth, and the save points were close enough together that I never got too frustrated when I died. I actually think that the style and animation is one of the best parts of the game. Moments here and there are choppy, but that is due more to it being an unfinished product. They definitely captured the industrialized feeling and the oppressive culture of whoever was in charge. After all, pretty much everyone there, besides the main character, was just following orders, even if that meant working someone to death.
As I played through the game for some reason I kept thinking of the game, Metro 2033. Now Black the Fall played nothing like Metro 2033 (they are even in completely different genres), but I got a similar feeling playing them. It’s that sort of dark and almost hopeless and oppressive feeling where there is just a glimmer of hope, of light, that you are reaching for. As a side note, the music in Black the Fall served as another key in letting you know what was going on. It would speed up when you needed to move quicker to survive, and I think it fit the theme fairly well.
Now the puzzles start off simple, and slowly move up in difficulty before a few jumps. However, all of them are focused around flashing red lights (up to a point), and the basics of these puzzles are fairly straight forward. Like shining a red light to make a guy turn a lever so you can get past. Most of these are also punctuated by something acting like a timer. For example, a turret shining it’s light on you that will shoot you in a few seconds if you don’t act. Things like these keep you moving forward throughout the game.
Overall I’d say Black the Fall was enjoyable, but more of a single play though kind of game. I give the game an 8/10, and am excited to see how the final product turns out (if you want a deeper look at the game, check out their website here). What I believe is the greatest appeal for Black the Fall is what you’re doing in the game. The mechanics, music, aesthetic, and everything else just serve to support the main idea of escaping a restrictive regime. Which for a lot of people stuck in their jobs, life, social structure, political structure, etc. a game where you escape out of such oppression is quite an appealing fantasy. After all, in the U.S.A., the upcoming election doesn’t seem to be about who will do the best job, but voting against whichever side we don’t want to win. As for Black the Fall, it is a fun game, and if you enjoy puzzles or dystopian worlds, than it is definitely something you need to try.
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Written by Spencer Havens, a firm believer that a strong story makes for a strong game.