May 03, 2018

Light Fall - Review

 When I first saw Light Fall, my mind thought, you know what, it looks cool, but the more I saw of it, the more I wanted to play it and now that I have, I am happy to keep returning to it.

In Light Fall, you play as Nox, a small boy, who wakes in a dark forest, with no memory of how he got there, the only information you are given, is done via a mysterious voice. As you make your way through the world, more information is given to you, by the mysterious voice, which turns out to be an Owl. It turns out that you are in the world of Numbra and near by the village of the Kamloops has been found empty, the statues of the celestial beings nearby were the guardians of the village and they have vanished. Sadly, giving away anymore of the story, gives away a lot, because the length of the game, the revelations come pretty fast.

Thankfully, while the overall length of the game is short, the gameplay is fast, well at least most of the time, you can run and jump to your hearts content, but it is when you combine that with the Shadow Core, the box you see in the screens, that the game becomes something more. The Shadow Core lets you summon a platform to get higher and cover larger gaps, but there are rules to using it, that require some thought. You can only use it a grand total of four times, before you need to stand on the ground, or a platform, in order to reset it, once that happens you can place boxes again to continue on. While that might not sound like a real challenge, there are times when I found myself, to far from a safe ledge, without a box to spare, which resulted in my death, a lot, thankfully the game loads up fast, so no delays in getting back into the action.

The Shadow Core can actually be manipulated in a number of ways, sure you can make a box below you, but you can also place it to the side, which then allows you to wall jump, climbing more vertical as needed. Should you find yourself approached by an enemy, you can throw it forward, letting you blast the enemy away, or even some walls and if that was not enough, you can summon one on its own and then move it around the world, in order to block lasers and more. It is quite a versatile little box, but all of that requires you to balance the use of it, with the ground. Should you be out of boxes to place, you can’t blast any enemies, and if you have one left and you do blast, you will find yourself plummeting towards whatever lies below. If you find yourself near a wall, you can do some wall jumps from it, but sticking to walls, will do nothing to replenish your boxes, you need the ground for that still.

The world of Numbra is quite dangerous to explore, so you will die a lot, but that’s ok, because not only is the respawn time quick, but you can use that time to look for that hidden secret you might have caught at the last moment. The game does offer some exploration elements, but nothing like a Metroid game that requires you to come back later, you just have to be quick on catching where those secrets might be. The game does have problems though, when you move, your best option is to hold down the run button, with that pressed, you can leap far, and clear some impressive gaps, however when you need to be more precise, the game fails. Not so much as it breaks, but jumping ever so slightly, or as one sequence will have you find out, avoiding giant death beams, requiring precise moves became an exercise in frustration.

The game sports a layered papercraft style, not that it looks like its made from paper, but more that you will get elements that pass in the foreground and the background. Thankfully, the foreground elements are minor and don’t come up during the more technical parts, but they add a layer of depth to the world, that is hard to beat. The cutscenes are more like slightly animated stills, there is a small amount of movement to each one, characters moving left to right, or the background sliding away, but otherwise they are completely static images.

The only spoken dialogue from the game comes from your Owl companion and its not directed at you, the character, but you the player, as more of a narration of what is happening or how the owl was feeling. Whereas the music is much more interesting, thanks to its simply melodic nature, there are only a few times when the games score picks up the tempo and when that does happen, it helps build the tension. Outside of that, the score is quiet and reserved, which helps give you the time on the few puzzles that exist, giving you a sense of peace, in that chaotic world.

Light Fall is a good game, it offers up a lot for speed runners, including a time trial mode, however the main quest is too short. While the game is quite challenging, with the last section proving to be the most difficult, you will fail a lot, but with the fast respawn time and precision platforming needed, it’s a challenge that I enjoyed and if you like a good challenge, you will to.

Review copy provided by Bishop Games

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