Human: Fall Flat PS4 Review

Publisher: Curve Digital  Developer: No Brakes Games  Genre: Puzzle 

Players: 1-2  Age Rating: 3+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One

The Pillsbury Doughboy, aka Poppin’ Fresh, makes his game debut with his cousins…. well, not really, but the characters in Human: Fall Flat are a striking resemblance to the popular dough character.

Human: Fall Flat is a puzzle game which takes place on floating, dream-like landscapes, with your goal being to traverse obstacles and reach the exit, upon which you fall into the next level (which is basically an interactive loading screen). The game is very psychics-based; Octodad comes to mind whilst playing, and even though the controls here aren’t as strenuous to use, it is by no means an easy feat to function.

A narrator will explain gameplay instructions; the delivery more than sets up the humorous tone of the game.

Your blank, wobbly character (simply called Bob) can move around, jump, but you also control each of his arms individually, à la Octodad. You also use the Right Control Stick to look up and down, and in doing so this also raises and lowers his arms, used for climbing up onto various platforms. Your bobbly character can also grip onto anything and everything – including other characters in multiplayer, making for some very amusing wrestling sequences, allowing you to go off piste and challenge each other to throw one another off a ledge – and this gripping action helps to reach higher platforms and pick up objects of interest.

Puzzles vary from easy to frustrating and there’s multiple ways of getting through each area, conventionally or otherwise – and later on you’ll find it is mostly otherwise. The areas you traverse are very open, and whilst the graphics aren’t the prettiest, they still manage to work, with simple bold, plain colours and polygonal environments making everything look pristine and clean. Levels aren’t completely devoid of detail though, with buildings, doorways, various cranes, boats, statues and other decor dotted about to give the levels some modicum of life.

As mentioned the game also has multiplayer, with 2 players sharing a split screen. As is the case with a lot of multiplayer games, this is where the most fun is to be found, players sharing the load and either helping or hindering each others progress in some of the most amusing ways. Having another player helps with progress as it enables you to use some short cuts; one player can stand on a button that opens a door whilst the other goes through to the next save point, saving you having to go through the rigmarole of finding a box to stand on the button instead. Once saved, the character left behind only needs to fall off a ledge or die somewhere, and will be placed at the following save point (a handy little hint there).

There are multiple ways to complete puzzles, allowing for some variation in gameplay.

There are no enemies in the game with only the obstacles being the main foe. Human: Fall Flat is a trial and error game and should you fail at a puzzle and come to a dead end, you do have the option to restart the entire level or start from the most recent checkpoint. The characters also don’t really die, though you’ll find later on that constant deaths and respawning somewhere you don’t need to be will become a bit of an annoyance, especially when you have completed a puzzle and only need to make one arduous jump to your goal, only to fall to your death – as happened when I was playing, it then taking multiple times to complete the level because at that point I was becoming overly determined to complete it as fast as possible and get through to the next area.

Your little Doughboy knock-off can be customised with various different costumes (no bakers outfit, unfortunately), and in multiplayer this does make it easier to tell your characters apart. With a multitude of options, you can get creative when styling your character.

Human: Fall Flat is as basic a game as they come in terms of its visuals and the bonus content that it offers, though the open worlds, and the puzzles within, are fun to experiment, explore and just have fun with, and are, most importantly, rewarding upon completion.