While larger companies may be shying away from mature games on the Wii U, indie companies have been stepping in to heroically fill the void. These games may not necessarily be gore-fests, but they do have stories that are deep and address social issues and ideals that many people in the real world have to deal with. Master Reboot was a solid mature title and The Fall can now be added to that list.
The Fall begins with a robot crash-landing on a mysterious planet. Her mission is to ensure the safe-keeping of a man, Colonel Josephs, who is unresponsive to her and considered in critical danger. She sets out to find a medical facility; however, her journey is not an easy one. She encounters many twists and turns and, without divulging too much of the story, it touches on many social issues regarding protocol and rebellion and ends up being a very interesting tale that kept me engaged for the entire playthrough.
Graphically, the game is rather appealing. The environments are dark and brooding and adds to the desolation that the game tries to paint. The lighting effects are very well done and, although the frame rate stutters occasionally, it’s visually appealing with a futuristic style that adds to the game. The game also boasts solid voice acting for characters and it doesn’t detract from the game. It’s a quiet game, but that is by design, as there is a real sense of desperation for those controlling ARID. The best thing is the pacing, which is directly interlinked with the gameplay.
ARID starts out with the abilities to run, jump, and interact with things, but she can fire a semi-automatic weapon and hide behind obstacles by the end of the game. She has the ability to perform all of these things at the onset of the game, but she only utilizes them when she feels it is necessary to protect Colonel Josephs, who is dying inside of the suit. The controls are solid, once you adjust to them, but I found there to be a steep learning curve that took me a while to fully master.
You control ARID with the L-stick and use her flashlight and gun with the R-stick with full 360-degree motion. To scan something, you hold down the R-trigger to cycle through items with the L-stick while the ZR-Trigger is used to shoot. The ZL-Trigger is used for taking cover. If it sounds a little confusing, that’s because it can be initially. Many times when trying to select an item, I would fire a shot or vice versa. It doesn’t really have any bearing on the game, but it can be a nuisance. Also, the first few gun battles will be a bit difficult as you adjust to everything and I died a few times because of the controls and not my ability. That being said, it becomes rather easy to control ARID once you finally grasp it, but there will be a learning curve.
The Fall is primarily a puzzle game with action elements scattered throughout, which is a mostly fun experience. Most of the puzzles require some out-of-the-box thinking and some backtracking to earlier areas that feels very well thought-out. A few of the puzzles are head-scratches, though, and I still didn’t grasp how the actions I took would have created the effect that happens, even after figuring them out with a little help on the Internet. Aside from the control learning curve, the action scenes are well done and the final boss battle was really fun to me.
Aside from the control curve and the few frame-rate issues, there were a few things that I didn’t particularly care for. The GamePad is basically just Off-TV play; I think it would have been very effective if, when playing on the TV, you could use the GamePad for your inventory system. The game is going to be consisting of three episodes and took me a little over four hours to complete, which felt a little short. The completion time would vary based on how long the puzzles take you to solve, so this is a minor issue. One other thing worth noting is that, while I had no real technical issues, another reviewer informed me of freezing in one segment and that they had to reboot their console.
Overall, however, The Fall was very enjoyable. For the $10 asking price, you receive a great story and solid game play in a four-hour episode. The game has a great ending that has me eagerly anticipating the next episode of the game. While third-party companies may not be focused on putting more “adult” experiences on the Wii U, indie companies such as Over the Moon Games are putting out solid titles that adult players can really enjoy without paying a steep $60 price tag. Hopefully, games like The Fall and Master Reboot continue on the Wii U and see some success, because they can really help fill a void left by the third parties.
- Solid graphics and voice acting
- Excellent story
- A fun adventure while it lasts
- Steep learning curve on controls
- Over a bit too soon
- Some puzzles are too confusing