Black the Fall (PC) Review

By Ofisil 20.02.2019 1

Review for Black the Fall on PC

Narrative-driven puzzle-platformers. A dime a dozen nowadays, thus it’s somewhat hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, as the gaming press tends to be very forgiving towards those, mainly due to their distinct visual style, and relatively highly emotive qualities, and less because of their gameplay. Some great games do exist, of course, with some examples being INSIDE, Little Nightmares, and golden oldies like Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. Should soviet-coloured, Romanian dystopia, Black the Fall, which, by the way, was created by a quartet of actual Romanians, be counted among them?

The setting at hand? Pretty archetypal amongst dystopian fiction: a 1984-esque, bleak world, where humans have been reduced to cogs of an oppressive factory, and their only pastime being the "enjoyment" of mandatory propaganda. The world is one mainly pained in shades of grey, with the strong, contrast-y red mostly coming from the scanning equipment of the unrelenting guards of this place - human or otherwise. Then one day, one of these unfortunate souls decides to exploit a flaw in the system (one amongst the many) to escape, and this is how Black the Fall begins.

Those who have experienced even a single puzzle-platformer know what to expect in here. The hero will have to embark on a completely linear journey towards the finishing line, with all sorts of obstacles on his way, most of which require to fiddle with the environment in order to open doors, disable traps, and so on, and occasionally do some platforming. In the end, of course, this is mostly about logical thinking, rather than agile fingers.

To be honest, though, none of the puzzles on offer prove to be particularly satisfying. Besides many of them feeling kind of chore-ish, the main reason is that the challenge these pose usually comes from the fact that it's sometimes hard to "read" what's on screen, and think what to do. In other words, be prepared for plenty of trial-and-error, with death coming in an instant when failing at something. In other words, while this can definitely be fun, it can many times be annoying as well.

Screenshot for Black the Fall on PC

There are other flaws as well. Is one of them the extremely short length of the adventure? Not really, as this kind of experiences tend to be better when they are somewhat bite-sized. No, the main reason why Black the Fall is just 'good,' is that it's nothing special. You walk left, do some platforming, push buttons to use various machines, sneak past enemies, and many more, but it sort of feels as the developer forgot about adding something that would differentiate its creation from the rest of the competition.

The only "unique" mechanic is a telecontroller that the protagonist soon stumbles upon, which basically lets him operate machinery from a distance, or even guide his fellow slav... err, colleagues to do his binding - and leaving them behind afterwards. Sadly, this is far from a ground-breaking ability - in fact, it many times makes everything feel like a point-and-click adventure, and not one that's very exciting.

Sure, plenty of like-minded videogames have been equally simple, as their main focus was the storytelling. So, what about that? Like its siblings, Black the Fall is enjoyably non-intrusive in its execution; the typical show-not-tell style of narrative. Unfortunately, a great emotive tale this is not. The hero goes from screen to screen, solving puzzles along the way, and occasionally witnesses bits of the "story," but it all feels more like a tour through a soviet dystopia theme park, than a riveting ordeal towards freedom.

…oh, and this runs on Unity, so get ready to observe your GPU becoming a helicopter.

Screenshot for Black the Fall on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Black the Fall is... okay. Not the worst atmospheric puzzle-adventure out there, but also very far from the top steps of the podium. A strong, oppressive atmosphere can get you places, but a game of this kind still needs a good plot, and some gameplay mechanics that are more than decent.

Developer

Sand Sailor Studio

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Trakodim (guest) 28.02.2019#1

very good ! 

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