Puzzle games, no matter how profound, tend to have a very limited number of ways in which the puzzles which they contain can be solved. For example, Portal, and Portal 2, featured test chambers, which in majority only allowed the player to progress using very specific, singular solutions. And this is because puzzle based games are most commonly built around gimmicky mechanics, which ultimately limit player’s creative output, and force him/her player to guess what the designer had in mind, rather than to encourage one to dissect, and investigate the challenge at hand. However, not all puzzle games are like this.

One of the titles, which breaks basic rules of the puzzle games genre is the recently released Human Fall Flat, or Human: Fall Flat. The exact title is still unknown, at least to me, as No Brake Games, the developer, has listed it under both monikers. And such ambiguous state of affairs is very fitting in this case, as the game in question, just like its title, has no exact formula, and is not limited by its main mechanic.

In its entirety, Human: Fall Flat, just like the abovementioned Portal, revolves around a single gimmick-like mechanic. But where Portal and Portal 2 have been ”imprisoned” by the portal gun, then Human: Fall Flat’s gelatin-spider-man, is what ultimately makes it free of any constraints. And this can be observed during any level, when facing any and all obstacles, as there is never just one solution to the problem, which Human: Fall Flat faces the player with. And even a puzzle as trivial as opening a door, can entertain, and challenge one, for dozens of minutes at a time.

Yes – you could put a box on the pressure plate in order to open the door (like in Portal), but you could also lean it against the wall, and use it jump over; or alternatively, you could disregard the box completely, and you could simply swing around the edge of the wall. And let’s not forget that the gelatin-man has two fully functional hands, so while swinging around the edge of the wall with his left hand, the player can hold the box with his right, and carry it forward in order to add another layer of complexity to the future puzzles, located within the same level.

The variety in puzzle solving doesn’t just stop at the above example, as throughout the three to six hours which players will spend with Human: Fall Flat, during their first playthrough, they will encounter dozens of challenges, with countless amounts of solutions. From zip-lining with a sheepherders cane from a church tower, to reverse parking a cargo ship, there’s always something entertaining, and challenging waiting around the corner, and each and every level is filled with childlike wonder, which stems from Human: Fall Flat‘s incredible, Laissez faire like approach to puzzle solving.

From the moment one starts the title, until the very last second of the credits sequence it can be observed that No Brake Games, have managed to achieve something incredible with Human: Fall Flat, as they have managed to make tasks as mundane as transportation of coal, incredibly exhilarating. And that’s because No Brake Games didn’t fill Human: Fall Flat with puzzles, but with obstacles. Every single object which the player comes across is a potential obstacle which he/she will have to overcome, and at no point is he/she forced to follow any predetermined path. Because in Human: Fall Flat, one is not following any puzzle patterns, but is simply utilising the tools given by the developer, to overcome the in-game obstacles by any means necessary. And that’s what ultimately makes Human Fall: Flat an incredible title.

In summary, one could state that Human: Fall Flat is a perfect puzzle game which doesn’t feature a single puzzle, and while such statement carries a significant amount of truth, it has to be stated that Human: Fall Flat‘s perfection carries a single major blemish, in form of its final level. A lot of the negativity concerning the finale comes from the fact that unlike the rest of the title it is anchored within a questionable setting, and the obstacles which were excellent throughout the earlier stages of the title, are nothing but a nuisance during this particular level. The ingenuity of water level, or the excitement which came with the castle playground, is nowhere to be found within the title’s finale, and it is rather disappointing, as the otherwise great title ends with a rather anti-climactic sequence which may leave a lot of players feeling deflated, and to some extent disappointed.



Author

Kamil

My name is Kamil, and I'm the 'Feature Man'. I write news, and reviews just like everybody else, however, feature articles are my true forte. And this is not because I'm another self-centered, pseudo-intellectual games journalist, but because there are many discussion worthy matters which go unnoticed in the flurry of other video-game related articles. If you want to read more of my #HotTakes and #Opinions, or if you simply want to fight me over the internet, you can follow me on Twitter @Kama_Kamilia.