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Game Info:

Light Fall
Developed By: Bishop Games
Published By: Bishop Games
Released: April 26, 2018
Available On: Switch, Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Platformer, Adventure, Action
ESRB Rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence and Mild Language
Number of Players: 1 offline, no online play
Price: $14.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Bishop Games for sending us a review code!

Light Fall is honestly one of the most intriguing platformers I've ever played. It manages to take what you expect or know from the genre, and change the formula.

Light Fall's premise is simple: You're a small boy who seems to have lost his memory. This world around you is shrouded in darkness. The world, called Numbra, is hidden in a darkness that only the stars pierce. Light Fall's gameplay seems to take influence from Donkey Kong Country and Super Meat Boy, but puts its own original spin on it. It also has some basic rules. There's physics, no fall damage, the ability to jump and bounce up or off walls. However, Light Fall is unique in its implementation of its original feature: The ability to instantly call a sort of ground under your character.

In this game exists a thing called the Shadow Core. The Shadow Core is a sort of box that provides ground for your character, however there's a catch. You can only call the box to you 5 times, and after that fifth placement it won't place again. In order to use it again, you have to touch solid ground that is not the box, and its placements will reset. You can also position it in several different ways, however those are not big enough to go into detail here. The cube can also be used to interact with the world, and create things or move them.

But, Light Fall does fail in some ways. Throughout the game a sort of non-important/non-playable character narrates what is happening or what is going to happen. Light Fall feels less like gameplay, and more like storytelling. The game plays great, yes, but it progresses only as fast as the story wants it to. In addition, Light Fall has a deeper backstory it wants to tell. The way this game chooses to tell it is by hiding memory crystals through the world that you can unlock to read stories from the first captain to discover Numbra. But it decides to tell a lot of the story. What I mean is that there are 100-200 word stories for each crystal. It decides to show these words in big text, on small lines. Maybe 6-7 words a line. Then it decides to show these lines with maybe 7 on screen. Then it decides to very, very slowly scroll them up Star Wars style. In a fast paced platformer game, it absolutely killed the atmosphere. After about 5 crystals, I chose to just continue with my life.

Light Fall
The shadow core... which I fell off of and proceeded to die
Highlights:

Strong Points: Original and fast gameplay; dazzling graphics; good voice acting
Weak Points:  Some gameplay designs are frustrating; performance issues on the Switch; pacing on narrative is slow
Moral Warnings: Several characters proclaim to be gods/goddesses; describes characters being raised from the dead

Light Fall has an absolutely gorgeous palette of hand drawn graphics. Of course, I didn't verify with the developers, but it certainly looks hand drawn. The best way to describe this game's graphics is Ori and the Blind Forest meets LIMBO. An enchanting mix of bright whites and colors coming together with a dark undertone of black and grey remind you this place is shrouded in a neverending darkness. Light Fall also has gorgeous effects, bloom, lens flares and more that come together to make it feel like a polished game.

Light Fall's story is where I start to pull away from this game. It follows the life of a character who meets a wise owl, but can't remember anything about himself. Later on it's shown that this game has several people they call celestial gods, and that your character is in fact one of them. You go through the game making sure your friends (the other 4 gods) and the people you protect (who also worship and build altars to these gods) are all safe. A character in this game, said to be a god, once cast a spell that stole all the light from the sky. You break into his temple and destroy him. One character that later receives power believes he has become a god. You end up destroying said character. All in all, the game has an unnecessary reliance on gods and mythology.

The music in this game is average. It doesn't seem very original or memorable, but it does make the experience a bit more enjoyable. It's very cinematic; smooth and dramatic at the same time. It's a nice contrast to the empty feeling world. However, outside of the game it doesn't have anything special going for it. The sound mixing on this game is usually good, but there are some times they didn't do very well, where it's either extremely quiet or ear bursting loud. The atmosphere they create with environmental sounds and effects is quite nice.

The controls are also alright; on handheld mode they feel good. However, in docked mode they feel very delayed. This may be due to another issue I'll note in the cons. Speaking of which, let's talk about those.

Light Fall
From early on, you can see this game looks great
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 68%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 73%
Violence - 5.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 1/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

While the gameplay is fast paced and fun, there are some rather big issues when it comes to boss fights. In most games, the camera during boss fights stays roughly the same, or gets a little closer. In Light Fall, however, they decided the best way to do this is make the bosses huge and pan the camera way out. In a game where your character is already very small, they chose to make him practically the size of an ant. The camera is so far out, that the small size, combined with the fact your character is solid black on an already black background, makes boss fights extremely hard and difficult to follow.

There also seems to be some performance issues. On docked or handheld mode, the game stays very smooth, and I only see some delay during boss fights or detailed scenes. I messaged the developers and they said both modes should run at 45-60FPS, and that handheld and docked mode ran at 720p and 1080p respectively. Because of these performance issues I'll dock a point from stability. Light Fall, however, does run smoothly on other platforms.

Morally, everything I listed earlier about gods is an issue. The game also references and pictures a "sea dragon" that has been bound in a cave. It does not say anything special supernatural about the dragon though. At the end of this game most of the people these so called gods protected were dead. However, one of the gods sacrifices themselves to raise the dead and bring them back to life with their "inner light," which apparently makes them powerful. This light is put into each of them, and they called the occurrence of it Light Fall. But that's about it. There is no sexual content in this game, and although the game is rated for mild language, I don't remember hearing any. My best guess is it might be in the memory crystal entries.

So, in closing, Light Fall is an original piece of art, with gorgeous hand drawn graphics, but is plagued by moral, technical and design issues.

- God's Gaming's Contempt

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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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