Back in 2014, Over the Moon Games released The Fall, an action-adventure and side-scrolling platform game. The game followed the story of A.R.I.D. (Armoured Robotics Interface Device), an artificial intelligence installed in a technologically-advanced combat space suit whose role was to save the suit's injured pilot. Without spoiling anything, The Fall delivered a deep and interesting story, one that surprised many with a few twists towards the end. The Fall was praised by its sci-fi storytelling and clever puzzle solving, and it’s something that developers focused on once again when developing the sequel, The Fall Part 2: Unbound.
I will start out by saying that you don’t necessarily need to play the previous game in order to understand the events that led up to The Fall Part 2: Unbound, as the game offers a short recap of The Fall. The sequel continues where the first game ended, right after Arid was dismantled. This process left her vulnerable to a virus sent by an unknown human user, however, in her last few moments, Arid establishes new boundaries and rules to survive. With a completely new protocol, Arid goes into the global network to find whoever inserted the virus in her in order to save herself.
While in the global network, the game is pretty straight forward from a gameplay perspective, as there are barely any puzzles and it’s a lot more focused on combat sequences that play like traditional side-scroll shooters. You can’t just charge in and shot repeatedly at your enemies, however, as Arid has a limited energy meter which is used not only for shooting but jumping as well. If you use it too much, you will be temporarily without any energy, making it a lot harder to dodge enemy attacks. Enemies are also only vulnerable to your shots in certain instances, which make dodging their attacks and wait for the right moment to attack crucial. While the combat sequences in the game aren’t exactly outstanding, they are certainly enjoyable and serve as break from the game’s focus on puzzles and story.
Like I said before, Arid’s body was dismantled, which leaves with her with no other choice but tap into other AI to ask for assistance and find some answers. While Arid is the main character of the game, the other AI she joins throughout the game (the Butler, One, and the Companion) are just as stars of the show as Arid. These AI are restricted by their own boundaries and rules, and Arid must help them get free of their limitations, and it’s here that the story of the game truly shines. Each robot has its own personality and unique story to tell, and while we are talking about machines who should only be something programmed to perform certain tasks, after learning more about their world from their perspective, you will realize just how deep and human their story is, which shows Over the Moon Games did a fantastic job mixing game mechanics and storytelling.
The gameplay changes slightly depending on which character you are controlling. The Butler’s sequences are heavily focused on puzzle solving, and have probably the most challenging puzzles the game has to offer. The Butler has daily routine he keeps for his master, and you must find a way to change this so that the Butler’s actions match your objective. Seeing as you are using the Butler’s body, the big challenge here lies in doing something that would change his routine without him noticing your intention. This section requires clever outside-the-box with actions that will have an impact on the next daily routine, or taking advantage of moments that the Butler temporarily leaves his body to perform certain actions without him noticing.
One’s sequences feature much simpler puzzles, but also include their own combat moments with One making use of his martial arts skills. During these sections you will occasionally be ambushed by enemy robots from both sides. The combat here is also pretty straightforward, as all you have to do is attack in the direction the enemy is coming from when they are close enough. During the early stages, the enemy robots are defeated with one punch, but as your progress through One’s sequences, they become more difficult with enemies being able to dodge your attacks and needing more than one hit to be defeated. There’s a score system based on how well you performed in these battles, but ultimately whatever score you get doesn’t really affect anything in the game other than unlock a trophy/achievement.
The Companion’s sequences are very similar to that of the Butler’s in the sense that they are more focused on puzzles. The difference here is that the Companion doesn’t have protocol restrictions that prevent her from doing what she wants, however, she lacks the means to help Arid. What makes the Companion different from the other two robots is the fact that she can interact with humans. Often you are required to pick the right dialogue options in order to obtain something you need and progress with the story.
Despite the praise i have to the give game in its puzzles, it’s also here that lie some of the game’s minor problems. Just like in the first game, you interact with the various objects in the environment using a light or sensor, however, controlling the light feels a bit clunky at times, which becomes a nuisance especially when there are a lot of objects around. Another issue I had is that the game offered little help when i was uncertain on what to do next. An optional hint system was definitely needed here for when it’s clear the player is stuck.
Visually, The Fall Part 2: Unbound is not a stunning game, but has certainly improved the visual quality and art style in comparison to the first game. While I felt that some work was needed in terms of character design and animations, the same can’t be said for the environments, which have a lot of background detail and some great lighting effects. The soundtrack also does a passable job with its ambient tracks, with the voice acting being excellent for the most part.
The Fall Part 2: Unbound builds upon what made the original game good and certainly did a good job at improving in some areas. The sci-fi story of Arid and the other AI is certainly entertaining, and has much more deep than you would think at first. The puzzles are excellent and fun to solve, and while the combat isn’t perfect, it adds some variety and helps the pacing of the game. Despite some minor issues, The Fall Part 2: Unbound is great game, and leaves me excited for what Part 3 might have to offer.The Fall Part 2: Unbound was reviewed using a PS4 Digital Copy provided by Over The Moon. You can find additional information about Gaming Union's ethics policy here.
|Superb story with a great cast of characters.|
|Combat sequences that add variety and help the pacing of the game.|
|Lack of an optional hint system.|
|Visually needed a bit more polish.|