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For me it felt far too derivative of Inside (it was of course in development before Inside's release, but looked awfully different), which was itself derivative of Limbo, and without the precision of either. Utterly beautiful when it remembers to be, but more irritating than fun in execution.
Black the Fall by Sand Sailor Studios is one of the better platformers that I've played in a while. With both Nick and myself having previewed it at various stages of development I'm both confident and happy to say that the final product has been worth the seemingly long development time.
Black The Fall is a special game. The prodigious range of puzzles and platforming mechanics present rival that of a game ten times longer than it, and the visual and auditory treat on offer elevates that gameplay to an incredibly high standard. You'll witness the human race at its very worst through some horrifying imagery, but this presents itself as more of a gas to fuel a revolution. Black The Fall is a remarkable experience that will stay with us for a long time, and it's one that you must not miss out on.
Life in 1980's Communist Romania was stupidly harsh. Freedom of speech was nonexistent. Any anti-government whisper improved the chance of receiving a terrifying visit from the Securitate, Romanian secret police, which pressured families and neighbors to snitch on one another. Writer, journalist, and photographer became some of the most dangerous professions; citizens who engaged in these passions risked, for the crime of "denigrating the socialist reality," a minimum of six years in prison or a maximum of being disappeared, never to be embraced or gazed upon by loved ones again.
Black The Fall not only succeeds in Sand Sailor Studio's aim of bringing attention to the Communist history of Romania but it also stands strong as an excellent puzzle platformer. The use of unique devices and companions ensures that you never solve the same puzzle twice and the excellent design ensure that every moment of your journey to escape from oppression is enjoyable.
As with similar titles in the puzzle-platformer genre, Black The Fall lacks replay value. Still, this is a fantastic game and an exemplary showcase for what the medium is capable of. All of its elements are designed so that they don't conflict with one another. The visuals are stylish, but never at the expense of playability or comprehension. It relies on the background to tell its story, and superbly crafts the surrounding area with puzzles. No matter what happens, the player is always able to follow exactly what's going on. This is all accomplished without a single written word, and it's absolutely brilliant.
In general, Black the Fall has conquered us, above all by the harshness of its setting and its denunciation of the total regimes and the control of modern citizens / consumers. An excellent recreation of the futuristic myth of Orwell and a wake-up call so that we do not let ourselves be controlled by the Big Brother. Deep, entertaining and technically very surprising.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Overall, if you are a fan of games like Limbo and Inside, then the chances are you’ll enjoy Black The Fall thanks to the similar mechanics and puzzles. Just don’t expect anything new or different being brought to the table. If you’re a newcomer to the genre however, be prepared for a lot of trial and error and potentially some frustrated hair pulling or broken controllers if you’re prone to a bit of rage quitting.
While most players will likely see where its influences lay, the dystopian world of Black The Fall succeeds on many occasions in creating a distinctly disquieting atmosphere, while a trial-and-error-based puzzle design offers just enough interactivity to keep its spooky narrative kicking.
In many ways, Black: The Fall is just the ordinary that everyone would expect but its gameplay, nevertheless, must be considered as a positive point, though you will find the puzzles irrelevant to the story. After a few hours of experience, you'll encounter an ending fit to the game which after, the whole game would finally make sense but, too bad since this only occurs when you're about to leave the game forever after!
Review in Persian | Read full review
The whole experience ended up being a few hours long. The likelihood is that this is a one--and-done playthrough, as once you've figured out the puzzles there really isn't a reason to play again unless you'd like to go back and look for clues to figure out the back story. I wouldn't say it's the best puzzle-platform title available, but it's unique and was worth the short time investment.
Black the Fall paints a pretty bleak picture of a quite personal dystopia. It doesn't excel at its puzzle-solving all that often, nor does it always feel well-designed, but it does well enough to keep you moving through the oppression in the hope the protagonist gets to fulfill his dream of freedom from it.
Through the stylishly muted visuals and the trappings of a Communist state on the brink of collapse, Black The Fall challenges you to escape its series of perilous puzzles in a bid for freedom from oppression. Though it will live in the shadows of its critically acclaimed peers and has a few rough edges, Black The Fall is a great addition to the puzzle platformer genre.
Black The Fall is a puzzle-platform set in a dystopian and dictatorial world, which echoes the political situation of Romania. Gameplay and storytelling are excellently connected with each other.
Review in Italian | Read full review
While playing, you can tell the game is competently built and comes from a place of passion with the developers, but outside of some eerie imagery and unique uses of the player's robot companion and Designator tool, Black the Fall fails to be the next big standout entry in this ever growing sub-genre.
Black the Fall definitely isn't for the casual gamer; it's crazy tough, but for someone looking for a fun challenge it's worth a try – or two, or three… since you'll be dying. A lot.
Black the Fall is an enjoyable, devilish platformer and one that deserves a tremendous amount of praise, however what it lacks is character and narrative, and this is what sadly prevents it from joining the top ranks of other titles in the genre.
Black The Fall experienced a heart transplant, but survived. Deprived of gothic charm, game became history of liberation struggle against the totalitarian regime. No hidden meanings and vague allegories: this is a walk through dystopia, which aimed at reminding the player about Romanian way through the 20th century (according to the developers). The project, deeply reminiscent of INSIDE, unexpectedly gets to the promise of 1979 Revolution: Black Friday — to a certain extent, and in a grotesque manner. And from a slightly awkward, but not so bad clone turns... well, not in a beautiful swan with a strong personality, but in the project with its own voice.
Review in Russian | Read full review
Black The Fall's uniquely varied puzzles are what kept me playing from start to finish. Without repeating the same element throughout, it always feels fresh, especially with the platforming sections breaking up the different puzzles. There were a few frustrating parts that required me to retry them more times than I would like to admit, but with an instant restart and generous checkpoints, Black The Fall ensures players can keep advancing. As the name implies, there is one section in the game that takes place entirely in darkness, serving as a real highlight of the experience.
Overall, Black: The Fall is a fun and challenging game that is suitable for those who wants a game full of mind-blowing puzzles. It may not be as fun and unique as Limbo and Inside, but Black deserves a credit.
Overall, Black the Fall is a pretty good ride with a bit of a story to tell, though without words and dialogue the interpretation of that story falls on you. Throughout the few hours I played it I was consistently challenged and periodically take aback by some of the clever solutions that could be reached through a bit of experimentation. Cognizant of how difficult the game is and how often you’ll die the fact that you rarely get backtracked much is a relief and much appreciated. If you’re looking for something a bit different, and maybe a little aggravating, it will provide several hours of head-scratching entertainment.
Black The Fall is an atmospheric 2D puzzle platformer, and although it creates an interesting tone, the game itself can't quite hold up against the titans of the genre.
Though Black deserves credit for adding new puzzle mechanics along the way, it could've easily seen its 6-8 hour runtime chopped in half and still gotten its message across. That entire time I found myself wondering if, like Inside, Black would have anything to say. When I finally discovered its message at the end of the campaign, it did inspire me to look up the real-life issue it was drawing attention to and learn more about it. I applaud it for that. Sure, it could've done so with a bit more subtlety – it's a bit heavy-handed at the very end – but at least Black does have a point to make. It's just a shame that it wrapped that in a game that's so shamelessly and distractingly derivative.
Black the Fall is... okay. Not the worst atmospheric puzzle-adventure out there, but also very far from the top steps of the podium. A strong, oppressive atmosphere can get you places, but a game of this kind still needs a good plot, and some gameplay mechanics that are more than decent.
If you were to take a step back and look at Black the Fall on a purely reductive level, it would be hard to find an overwhelming thread of originality. The game is a 2.5D side-scrolling puzzle/platformer, from in independent studio, set in a futuristic dystopian wasteland. Despite sounding the by-product of game design Mad Libs gone horribly awry, it still manages to hold together as a singular experience. Sure, there are plenty of, “where have I seen this before?” moments, but these are spread far enough apart to still feel at least slightly non-conventional. Unfortunately, the proverbial meat of the experience consists of interesting concepts that are executed poorly. Much like what the player will encounter during several puzzles, gameplay itself feels like an ill-informed leap of faith that elicits more far exasperation than elation. Toe the edge carefully and think twice before taking this plunge.
Taking on some heavy subject matter, Black The Fall has moments that will live in the memory once it's all over. And while Sand Sailor's game might be on the brief side and occasionally frustrating, it's also perfectly fine. But that's about the long and short of it.
The main problem of Black The Fall lies not in political bias, but in absolute unoriginality of the whole project. Snatching a bunch of design decisions and mechanics from more successful colleagues, the developers failed to turn them into an interesting story and challenging puzzle game.
Review in Russian | Read full review
The inspiration behind Black The Fall should be enough to draw an audience. The problem is, if you were judging the game with no prior knowledge or understanding of communism, you may not enjoy it as much as someone who is informed about the themes dealt with – as obscure as the interpretation may be at times.The visual narrative throughout is all that's offered to help understand the game's universe; fortunately it does a satisfactory job shaping the world. The puzzle elements are not groundbreaking, but when mixed with the platforming provide a rewarding experience that is similar to the likes of LIMBO. The major blemish is the performance and reduced visuals. The sluggish performance ultimately makes this a far less enjoyable game to play on the Switch, and the below average visuals can make it tricky to distinguish what is going on at times. If you think you can tolerate this, what is on offer is a relatively short-lived title that will make you think in more ways than one.
The puzzles are interesting and the game features an art style that looks good in the player's eyes, while at the same time its lifespan feels too short and has nothing to offer beyond the main objectives.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review