Game Review – Human: Fall Flat (PS4)

Human: Fall Flat is a strange game with elements of ingenious design shining through in places. It takes on the form of a physics-based puzzle-platformer. Each level requires the player to move objects, carry items and/or manipulate the environment in such a way as to get to the end of the stage.

You play as Bob and each level is a surreal dreamscape from which Bob must escape. Our protagonist is an almost formless  amalgamation of Mr. Soft and Baymax with movements akin to Octodad. His design is simple but then it didn’t really need to be complex as the game is all about the level design and the puzzles. The main character is nothing more than an avatar with which to traverse this world despite the nearly non-existent story elements.

The control scheme is a little like Octodad meets Little Big Planet but thankful less frustrating than the former. At times however, movement feels sluggish and delayed. I found myself getting bored waiting for Bob to get from A to B. Climbing presents its own set of challenges as you’re forced to use R2 and L2 to grip the surface you wish to climb and then move the in-game camera down to pull Bob up. It feels really awkward at times and made me want to avoid any climbing sections.

Speaking of the in-game camera; talk about motion-sickness. It jostles around with each step you take which, given how slowly the character moves at time, can take a while.

Graphically, Human:Fall Flat looks pretty good. The environments look simple yet well designed so as to not distract from the puzzling aspect. This works in the games favour and I feel that the levels were well-designed and don’t go out of their way to pigeon-hole the player into completing them only one way. You do get a sense of freedom within the levels to wander around and grab things, move things; whatever takes your fancy. But eventually you have to solve the puzzle and move on to the next one.

One welcome feature is the ability to customise Bob with various outfits and colour schemes. While it is a simple feature, it does make the experience a bit more personal than just manipulating a sterile, white avatar. Some of the customisation options are quite humourous which provides the game with a little more personality.

Overall, this isn’t a bad game but it isn’t particularly memorable. The puzzles are intelligent and really make you think at times. The environments are surreal and show a lot of imagination. My real issue is that it doesn’t feel like a polished experience. A little more time spent in testing could’ve ironed out some of the more irritating aspects. The potential is definitely there.

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