Developer Over the Moon recently released their sci-fi story based action adventure game The Fall Part 2: Unbound which is a sequel to The Fall which released in 2014. It’s a much bigger game than its predecessor and includes a heady fusion of shooting action, unarmed combat and mind-bending puzzle solving.
Which brings us onto the first obstacle. If you’re in it for the action then sadly you’ll have to endure some rather taxing puzzles – although admittedly “taxing” is rather subjective. The puzzles can’t be avoided despite there being an option in the menu before starting the adventure to tone down the combat so as to focus more on the story and puzzles. There isn’t an option in reverse but perhaps that is missing the point of the game. So be warned, if puzzle solving isn’t your forte then perhaps this isn’t for you – although bear with it because in this day an age of Youtube and Internet means finding assistance isn’t that far away.
You play as an AI who has broken her protocol with the sole directive of now protecting herself no matter what. This presents some interesting scenarios whereby the AI takes control of several other automated programs. It’s here where the puzzle solving comes into play such as performing tasks with said automatons is key to finding a “User” remotely tampering with the system. Delving deeper into the system reveals a lot more than what initially meets the eye. The first of these control sections comes in the form of a butler bot who daily repeats his task of serving tea and applying lipstick to a deceased couple whose bodies lie in separate rooms (you can guess which requires the tea or the lipstick). It’s a loop where at key points after some investigation you’re able to influence some outcomes and change the bot routine which opens up access to more areas and possible leads in your investigation. It’s a novel idea that works very well but does have its moments where getting stuck is possible. What is interesting is between these sections players have to platform jump and teleport their way through the system. It’s here where some combat elements come into play via shooting attackers and avoiding their blasts. You’re also upgrading the abilities of the AI by doing so enabling you to access more areas. The combat is quite simple but effective enough to be distinctive from the rest of the gameplay which rests on the side of point and click style adventuring.
Further into the story you’ll encounter more controllable characters such as a pleasure bot and sentient AI/Robot which allows for some hand to hand combat moves which comes across very similar to a side scrolling fighter – except you’re rooted to the spot and need to time punches against varied color coded opponents. Again, this breaks up the adventuring and is quite a welcome distraction. Without presenting too many spoilers the game provides enough context for our main AI heroine to press forwards for her self-preservation but as mentioned the puzzle aspects can become somewhat cryptic slowing down the story pace.
Visually there is an improvement over the original with better lighting and shadow effects but it’s still quite a simple looking experience bathed in darkness and showing off some basic character models and locations. However, it has to be stated this is not a game to dote on the visuals, rather the impressive dialogue which again retains its dark humor offering some funny moments at times.
Over the Moon suggest that Part 2 is some 3 times more in content than the original game which might be true, but this is perhaps dependent on how well you can solve the tasks presented or how well you master the combat. Being stuck and wandering around trying to figure things out creates an illusion of a longer experience. There is much more variety this time round though which is plus point and the fact we’re able to control four other characters makes it very much a better storytelling adventure all round. Considering the asking price of under £13 it’s certainly worthy of your time.
Interestingly, this review can end in pretty much the same way as the The Fall part 1. The same concerns are here despite improvements in visuals and tweaks to the core gameplay. Whilst this is a neat game for adventure fans, it won’t win any favours from those who are action-orientated despite what the trailers might present. Sadly (for action gamers) the shooting, fisticuffs sections don’t carry the game whereas the dialogue and puzzles are the mainstay. So, in this regard The Fall Part 2: Unbound can only be recommended to those who know what they are getting into which is an interesting forray into sci-fi puzzle solving exploration adventure. As a game in its own right, it’s fun to play and rewarding if you can figure things out without having to resort to external assistance (cheating). However, this in itself perhaps says it all.