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.
This puzzle-platformer lives in the shadow of Playdead's Inside, but its rage against Romanian Communism is authentic and raw.
The similarities to Inside are unfortunate, but this is still a gripping and inventive action puzzler with a grim, if unsubtle, message about authoritarianism.
Though Black The Fall's presentation is beautiful, the combination of sluggish controls, trite puzzles, and a weak conclusion makes this journey a hard sell
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.
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
If you can push through some frustrating moments during the opening hour, Black The Fall offers challenging puzzles with a thought-provoking narrative.
Listen, as dystopian and mostly monochrome platform puzzlers go, Black the Fall isn't bad. But I can't tell you it's great either.
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 isn't the most unique or ambitious title in the puzzle platforming genre, but it's a welcome and impressive first effort from Sand Sailor Studio.
Black The Fall is an exaggeration of an Orwellian communist lifestyle but it's one that successfully drives a point home.
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
It all comes down to a game that, while not terrible, isn't going to set the world on fire.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Impressive processing of the Romanian revolution in 1989, which has minor weaknesses when it comes to game mechanics.
Review in German | Read full review