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Black The Fall

Posted by GG Goblin On July - 21 - 2017

A dark game in more ways than one.

 
Sand Sailor Studios’ puzzle platformer Black The Fall tells a dark tale of the future. Partly inspired by the developers’ memories of 80s Romania under Communist rule, players take control of worker Black as he makes a break for freedom from an oppressive regime in a dystopian future.

 
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So, the setting is going to be grim, that much is obvious from the start. As players work their way through the dark industrial setting, they will bear witness all manner of horrors and a complete disregard for human life. There is very little by way of light relief in the game, with no friendly moments with other characters or even acknowledgement of Black’s existence for the most part. It is a dark and lonely world.

 
It is also a brutally dangerous world. There are plenty of ways for Black to die in the world, and life seems to be so cheap that no-one will care. Falling or drowning are obvious ways to die, but the guards and armed surveillance cameras with shoot Black down without a second thought if he is seen outside of where he should be. After all, it is easy to replace him with one of the many other drones under their complete control. Fortunately, dying doesn’t prove too much of a hindrance with quick load times.

 
Starting Black The Fall, players are pretty much thrown in the deep end, with very little explanation about what to do or how to do it. It doesn’t help that the game is so dark either, and not in mood. Adjusting the brightness does fix some of the visual problems, but takes away the atmosphere. I guess it doesn’t help to play the game on a bright, sunny day. Still, it doesn’t take too long for the player to get to grip with things, and at least the setting does brighten up from time to time, especially when the player reaches the outside.

 
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The lack of information in the game does make some of the puzzles more difficult than they needed to be. To start with, it seems that stealth is the order of the day, as the player avoids the gaze of guards, or hides behind objects as spotlights sweep the area. The complexity rises as the player progresses, with the introduction of a laser pointer that will allow the player to control other workers with antenna on their uniforms, moving them to create distractions or operate machinery that will allow Black to progress on his escape attempt. Then you have the robot dog companion, which introduces the possibility of co-operative style puzzles as the robot hound can give access to out of reach areas, activate panels or even complete circuits. The robot dog is also pretty much the only thing in the game that brings a ray of light to the darkness. It’s cute, and for that we are grateful.

 
Black The Fall starts out as difficult, and remains difficult throughout. The puzzles are, for the most part, nothing that we haven’t seen before, but the pacing and introduction of new mechanics throughout keeps the game moving along well. The absence of any information given to the player can cause frustration at times, when new mechanics are introduced for example, but it also puts the pressure on the player to work things out for themselves, and it is incredibly satisfying when that light bulb moment hits and a puzzle makes sense.

 
Visually, the game looks quite impressive and fits well with the dark, oppressive theme. The early moments of darkness have already been mentioned, but they were just a matter of the player adjusting. The game makes great use of camera angle and lighting to give an impression of a 3D world despite the purely 2D gameplay.

 
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Black The Fall’s vision of a dystopian future may not be especially unique, and many of the puzzles have been seen previously in other games, but the game is very well put together and plays flawlessly. It’s a tough game with a very grim setting that may not be for everyone. However, if you like your puzzle platforming with a challenge, it’s worth taking a look at Black The Fall.

 

 ★★★★★★★½☆☆ 



 

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