Human: Fall Flat ($14.99, No Brakes Games) might sound familiar to a fair amount of our readers. The game originally was on the PC via Steam. Later on it made the jump to console on PlayStation 4 and XBOX One. And then even later than that, it landed on the Nintendo Switch. And even later beyond that point in time, the world got a physical release of Human: Fall Flat for the Switch. Now that all of these iterations were out, I thought it best to review the game to see if it’s worth picking up in any one of these 5 iterations. Join me, won’t you?
‘Human: Fall Flat is an open-ended physics based puzzle game in which you take control of builder Bob helping him resolve the mysteries behind his recurring dreams of falling. Your goal is to escape those dreams full of puzzles, dangers and surprises using everything you find in the levels. The world of Bob dreams is built on his daily experiences, hopes, fears and memories interweaved in a net so sticky and hard to escape. All this mess is actually a carefully crafted work of… wait! You are the one to find it out! Bob is a human. Just a human. No hero. Zero superpowers. Period. Bob is more handy than he’s handsome, but latter would not help much in:
- pulling the stuff around
- pushing the stuff with hands
- pushing the stuff with feet
- carrying the stuff
- climbing the stuff
- breaking the stuff
- using stuff to interact the other stuff
With open-ended simulator at its core “Human: Fall Flat” allows you to relive Bob’s story your own way. Every shortcut can be taken, every solution is welcome! The game requires creativity and imagination. These often surreal environments do obey very real laws of the physics, if you think an object could be moved then rest assured it can. Replay value is limited only by your imagination.’
- Direct and complete control of the character, nothing is scripted, no limits imposed.
- Fully interactive 3d environment, grab anything, climb anything, carry anything.
- Brittle objects are breakable by clumsy movements or by other objects.
- Full 3d sound emitted in a physically plausible way.
- Unlimited replay value created by you thinking outside the box.
- Play with mouse and keyboard or a game controller.
- Unique character customization. Make him you by painting the character or bringing real word textures with a web-cam.
There are so many pros to Human: Fall Flat that I’m not certain that I will be able to remember them all! The gameplay is my most favorite part. To have a character that you can fully customize from head to toe (I made my Bob all red) is great. And then to subject him to help you solve the puzzles is a task, but it feels so rewarding. It isn’t enough to solve the puzzles, as they are challenging and fun. But the fact that you have to navigate your physics based buddy, with a limited skill set, through the level is the part where there is more difficulty. The levels are self-contained and are just free-floating platforms in the sky. If you happen to fall off the platform, you’ll fall for 3-5 seconds and land right back on the very same platform. It’s almost as if the game renders an infinite supply of the levels. When really you probably just respawn back up above the platform, but they make it seamless.
The music here is probably something we could write a whole article about. It’s probably the greatest mood music that I’ve ever experienced in an indie game yet. And the fact that Super Rare Games makes a vinyl of this soundtrack only means that other people agree. You’re never going to find it to be a hindrance, and even if you did, you could reduce the music’s volume. However, I turned it up higher than the rest of the audio because it was so pleasant. If anyone knows where to buy this soundtrack digitally, let me know as I was just playing it on the Switch and that doesn’t come with any chance of buying a digital copy of the soundtrack.
The gameplay and how you manipulate the character is simple. You have walking, jumping, grabbing, and falling flat on the ground. These all can be combined in different combinations to clear gaps, pick up objects, move train cars, open doors, press buttons, scale mountainous walls. This game seems simple when you first start it and it immediately lets your imagination start. In fact, you’re going to have to have an immense imagination and a knowledge of how real-world objects work to successfully clear levels in this game. I start it and once everything clicked, I found myself playing a lot longer than I had planned to!
The interesting thing is that the levels are so diverse. Because some of them are done in just literally a few minutes. Whereas other levels are vast and let you explore and are less puzzle based and more physical in nature. The ones that are wide open and take longer are my favorite as I love looking around in video game levels. And these game levels are so deliberately designed, you can tell. Since there are so many variables that can exist with physics, you need to have a nice, tight level. This stops the player from not succeeding, not having fun, or just glitching everything. At the end of every level, if done properly, you will find a door marked with an exit. That’s how you know that you’ve made it to the right door. Additionally, you have to leap off the edge of the level after you go through the door. It’s how it sends you to the next level. And yes, your human will fall flat.
This game can be downright frustrating for some. I’ve witnessed some very reputable reviewers and YouTubers state that the game is just too complicated. It leads them straight to that point of frustration. For me personally, the one and only part that I found truly difficult about this game are the button presses. It’s a very hard thing to explain how to press a button in this game because if you haven’t played the game, you wouldn’t know how the overall experience is. The only thing I can say is that it’s from a third person view. The only way to direct your hands is by moving your entire body.
You can bend down easily and touch and grab things. The same goes with standing completely up straight and reaching or grabbing things above you. But anything else in between those two is incredibly tiresome to interact with. And a button of all things is small and I’m sure they made the button large enough for the character to poke his hand with, but it still isn’t enough. This is further amplified by the fact that if you’re playing on Switch, it has a smaller screen. That means that if you’re using it in portable mode, you’re going to have a harder time. The bottom line is, the buttons in this game should be roughly the size of the character’s face for them to work better.
And the part I haven’t even spoken about yet is when you have 2 buttons and have to press and hold both of them. That is an absolute displeasure. And they throw that at you within the first 10 minutes of the game! However, I didn’t want to be as discouraging as other people who had reviewed the game. So I sat there and messed with it and messed with it until I got the double button. After that, it’s pretty much smooth sailing for a long while because they focus on other, non-button related puzzles.
Now that I’ve written three paragraphs about button pressing, are there other issues? I would say that the game is all physics based, so your character is a marionette made of jello. But I wouldn’t really call that a con. If you’re buying a physics games, you’d better know what you’re getting. I really had no other quarrels with the game other than trying to press or grab things at my character’s midriff.
From it’s wonderful musical score to its hilarious wobbly main character, this game is a fun time. Sure, I got frustrated with button presses. But they don’t stop you that long and once you get used to them, you just know that they’re going to take you a few tries. This game doesn’t give you anything, you have to earn it all yourself. It does teach you what you need to know using videos that can pop up in game. But you have to watch them if you intend on actually succeeding in Human: Fall Flat. That’s my advice to everyone reading this that felt discouraged by my “Cons” section. If you’re playing it right, you’re bound to do better than me at pressing buttons.
I think it’s fun that they have a voice actor that does the instructional videos within the game. He also talks about humans lovingly, but in a past tense manner at times. Which is fun and funny in and of itself. The level design looks and plays so well. Everything is in place and ready for you to drag, push, pull, land on, break, whatever it may be. The world isn’t so open though that you can experiment with every object. You have exactly all that you need and nothing more. This also helps with keeping the game download smaller for those who are wanting to play this on the Switch like I did. But if you’re someone who doesn’t like to be told what to do in games and then told to use your imagination, then maybe this foray isn’t for you.
Looking for the game in physical format? Try Super Rare Games, but hurry, only 5000 were made!
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