*DISCLAIMER: ALL VIEWS IN THIS REVIEW ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT COME FROM THE COMPANY THAT HAS KINDLY PROVIDED THE GAME*
In Light Fall, "you will rely on your Shadow Core to brave the many challenges and foes standing in your way. Do you have what it takes to survive in perilous Numbra?" - eShop Page
Light Fall is a platforming adventure game, developed and published by Bishop Games. It began as a crowdfunded Kickstarter campaign, which was fully funded on June 3rd, 2015. It released simultaneously on PC and Nintendo Switch on April 26th, 2018. In the May 10th post of Bishop Games’ website, they list several scores that they have received so far for the game, ranging from 8/10 to a 9.3/10. When looking through several sources of my own, I found that a few sites listed it a bit lower, such as a score of 71 on Metacritic, though it did seem to do fairly well overall.
Since I was not around to witness the Kickstarter campaign, I instead became interested in Light Fall due to its artstyle. I am a complete sucker for a macabre looking game, which Light Fall seemed to fall into quite nicely. The playable character is also just too gosh darn cute, so that reeled me in as well.
As with many platformers, Light Fall does not have the most captivating story. The main character and his owl companion, Stryx, travel the world of Numbra. The people that once inhabited the land, the Kamloops, have since disappeared, which causes Stryx to become quite concerned. He employs the help of the boy and together they seek out the gods of old in order to discover what could have happened. They discover the boy’s story along the way as well.
I’ll be honest here: The story did nothing for me, and even as I write this, I’ve had to pull up the main game website and other reviews in order to just remember the names of the characters. I did enjoy the way the story was told, through the voice of Stryx, and the implementation of collectible pieces of lore, however the lore pieces were quite small to read in handheld mode.
One portion of the game that I did enjoy was the gameplay mechanics. You control the main character with the left joystick, and use ZR to run and B to jump. You have the ability to wall cling both and bounce in order to access various areas. But that is as far as traditional platforming mechanics go. The boy controls a cube called the Shadow Core, which he can summon at will. If the player presses B while in the air, the action will summon the Core, allowing the player the ability to reach areas that were previously out of reach. The core can be summoned up to fives before having to land on solid ground. The core can also be used by hitting A, which will summon it directly in front of the player. This can be used when the player finds that they need a shield or when a wall bounce is necessary but unavailable. Pressing Y shoots the Core forward from the player, which allows them to interact with their environment in various ways. Finally, using X will allow the player to move the Core for a short time, allowing them to place the Core in precise locations, usually in order to unlock a puzzle. All of these mechanics come together to create a very solid, if not predictable, platforming experience. The game plays very well and the mechanics never feel out of place.
However, the difficulty spike near the end (or what I assume to be the end) of the story is just insane. I died plenty during the beginning of the game, mainly due to stupid mistakes or hitting the wrong button at just the wrong time. But the end of the game was just too unforgiving. I estimate that I died over fifty times in a single hour, during a single level. When a game gets to that point, I no longer find the experience fun and instead feel like just turning off my Switch all together. Due to this, Light Fall is the first game I have not finished and 100%’ed for Honest Game Complex. We strive for 100% in every game we review, but this game frustrated me to the point that I could not continue.
Now, Bishop Games has posted on their website that they are going to do a bit of redesign to the end of the game, at least the final boss. This may or may not affect the section I reached that caused me to throw the towel in, but I will report back if an update causes the game to be able to be completed.
The quality of the game was solid overall. I did not experience any glitching, crashes, or significant frame drops. I felt that the overall experience presented itself as very polished and well programmed.
As for the aesthetics, however, each short cutscene was accompanied by near constant rumble (it may have been HD, but I can’t be sure on that). If the rumble had been used to accent events or certain words or themes, I would have understood using it. But with the rumble being heavy and continual in the cutscenes, it just felt overwhelming and obnoxious. It even sometimes caused the voiceover to be hard to hear for the rumbling noise.
Also of note was the use of flashing lights during one of the later stages. The flashes correspond to what the character is experiencing and trying to fight through, but I found them to be distracting and disorienting. It was hard to complete that section of the game, as it was hard to see what was going on for all the white flashes on the screen.
The soundtrack for Light Fall was actually quite nice. The music seemed to accent the levels quite nicely, and the sound effects were spot on as well. The voiceover of Stryx was well done, and it created a nice sense of character where there may not have been without it. All-in-all, I don’t have much to complain about in the sound and music category for this game.
When it comes down to it, Light Fall takes a unique look at the classic genre of platformer. It creates a world which is unique, even though the story is not the most captivating, and gives the player a new set of skills that they master in order to progress. But it is an unforgiving game nearer to the end. The game may be a bad match for those who wish to experience a light-hearted platformer that is accessible to newcomers of the genre. But I will actually suggest the game for veterans of the genre who are seeking a challenge. It is not a bad game by any means; it was just far too difficult for me to complete.
|Platforms:||PC | Switch|
|Price:||£10.99 | €14.99 | $14.99|
|Story Completion Time:||15+ Hour (Estimated)|
|100% Completion Time:||20+ Hours (Estimated)|
|Interesting gameplay mechanics.||Light flashes are overwhelming and disorienting.|
|Beautifully dark art style.||Far too much HD rumble during cutscenes.|
|Plenty of potential replay through Speedrun mode.||Levels are hard enough that players give up before finishing.|
|Arbitrary Final Score|
Review by Bonnie
Light Fall is available now for PC, and Switch for, £10.99/$14.99. Thank you to ÜberStrategist, Inc, and Bishop Games for supplying the game and assets used in this review. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.