Genre: Adventure, point and click
Release Date: 2014
Developer / Publisher: Over the Moon Games
After crash landing on a mysterious planet, a combat suit activates its Autonomous Robotic Interface Device (A.R.I.D.) when no response is detected from its pilot. You play as ARID, an artificial intelligence, and your objective is to seek medical assistance for your unconscious and injured pilot. With little information and limited access to advance suit functions, you start making your way from the lower levels of a decaying industrial facility.
Playability: It’s really dark in here
The Fall harks back to classic point and click adventure games, except that your mouse doesn’t actually control an on-screen pointer. Annoyingly, you cannot freely move a mouse arrow to click on objects. You point a gun at different black patches and shadows on the screen, hoping that it will trigger an object description. The controls are simple but having a point and click adventure against a dark backdrop where you can barely see anything is less than ideal.
Annoyance: Dimly lit one solution puzzles
How can you point and click if you can’t see properly? The Fall’s technology is a curious mix of 1980s science fiction (antiquated early PC interface) and present day gizmos (Wi-Fi networking). There is one solution to every problem the Fall throws at you. Some solutions are rather obvious (use spanner to unscrew robotic arm), others don’t make much sense (have a decaying human head scanned as an appropriate source of proteins). The lack of choices combines with the linear plot to make surviving the Fall a rather dreary experience.
Beauty: Can’t see a thing
ARID has smooth moves and is fluidly animated. A jump looks like a jump, and a run is similarly elegantly rendered. The occasional voices are welcome breaks in the monotony of the all encompassing darkness. Barely visible shadows, dim lights, faint gloom and darkened rooms make the deepest dungeons a bright and airy excursion compared to the visuals of the Fall. Where’s the light switch? However good the writing is, it can hardly make up for the bare bone graphics.
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: ARID darkness 5/10
Adventure games are figuratively speaking often about groping in the dark for solutions cooked up by the imaginative minds of their creators. The Fall makes the experience very literal as it takes place in dimly lit environments with the occasional glimmer of LEDs as guiding fireflies. Pointing and clicking in the dark is not easy. Monomaniac single solutions to overcoming obstacles make the Fall an arid experience lacking diversity and freedom.