Over the years, as physics engines have improved and the advent of the indie developer scene has flourished, we have gotten a slew of games that challenge gamers in new and unique ways. The idea of having small, contained rooms that players had to solve to reach the exit really became popularized by games like Portal. Eschewing a deep narrative for a gameplay first mentality, Human: Fall Flat doesn’t offer up elaborate graphics or fancy gimmicks. Instead, it relies solely on creative puzzles and the interactions between the player and the game’s consistent use of gravity and realistic physic mechanics. Some will enjoy this style of game, while others will no doubt walk away unfulfilled. I was teetering on the latter until I tried the two-player co-op mode, which really adds to the fun factor.
You play as a drunken Pillsbury doughboy named Bob. The goal is to find and reach the exit of each area. You then fall hundreds of feet like a crash test dummy onto the next playfield. Each challenge area will have items that can you can interact with. These can be things like crates that you can stick your hand to and drag across the ground to reach new areas or to press down a button to keep a door open. As one might expect, the levels become more elaborate and difficult as the game progresses. Each of Bob’s arms can be controlled with the triggers and the analog stick. So, for example, you could stick both hands to an object and then try to lift that object above your head to carry it. One of the more tricky maneuvers in the beginning areas is holding both hand above your head and then jumping and planting them on a platform above. You must then push down to do a pull-up and get yourself up to the higher area. It all makes sense as you play the game, but it can also be a bit frustrating when you don’t quite land the right moves at the right time.
As you slink about the courses you’ll often come to some physics-based puzzle. It might consist of something like a grappling hook hanging from a crane or a glass wall that needs to be shattered with something. You’ll have to traverse the environment with care and there are more than a few bottomless chasms that need to be crossed. If you do happen to fall, the game ingeniously has Bob come out of the ceiling of the room you were in, smashing into the ground for you to try again. This fast approach to getting you back into the puzzle solving action is essential – no one wants to wait for a loading screen every time a mistake is make. And mistake will definitely be made! Half the fun of the game is experimenting with the different objects to try and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
The game takes on a whole life of its own when you add a second player into the mix. That’s because puzzles can be solved in a whole new manner with two of you. You can help each other out or even cheese certain puzzles that are so much more difficult when playing alone. Plus, things just get all sorts of crazy when playing with a friend. You can attempt to assemble various contraptions with the pieces of wood and other things you’ll find along the way. The fact that the controls are deliberately sluggish and a bit unsteady makes for some truly hilarious moments that are only amplified when two people are playing. The game just added a free patch to allow for two players to use single Joy-Con controllers if you like – although we do recommend a full set for each player (or Pro Controllers) as the camera control is so much better with analog sticks versus motion.
As we mentioned earlier, the game won’t win any awards for visuals or audio. The graphics are very much simplistic polygons for the most part. The animation is pretty nice, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done better elsewhere. Likewise the game often has silent moments, but when the music does kick in it’s nothing overly special. There’s a tiny bit of voice acting, but the game just kind of leaves you alone for the most part. Some will appreciate this, but I couldn’t help but think how cool it might have been with a voiceover like Portal or Death Squared making fun of your antics.
Overall, Human: Fall Flat is another respectable entry on the Switch. It’s a simplistic looking game with some very fun puzzles to solve. The two-player mode really helps the game along here, so if you have a friend that will join in you should definitely give it a go. The game can become a little long in the tooth for solo play, but I still had a fun time.
Human: Fall Flat was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.