Physics-based indie games with odd controls have been popular ever since titles such as Octodad and Surgeon Simulator debuted. So, how does controlling drunk little white guys compare? Enter the world of Human Fall Flat and let's see.
At its core, Human Fall Flat is essentially a basic 3D physics-based platform puzzler where you interact with switches, push boxes onto buttons, and figure out how to traverse tricky situations. You control your little baseball cap wearing dude by moving him around with the left stick and tilting the camera with the right which actually has an effect on the gameplay as opposed to just letting you look around. Two shoulder buttons are used to extend the guy's arms which allows him to grab onto objects and ledges. To illustrate how these controls work together: if you want to climb up onto a ledge then you need to face the camera up, extend your arms, jump to the ledge (which will hopefully make the dude grab it), and then tilt the camera down to hoist him up to the top. It's overly complex but that's what makes Human Fall Flat an enjoyable albeit frustrating game.
The puzzles themselves involve many different mechanics and can be quite clever. For example, grabbing a wall and running in place so you can move an underfoot train in the process is something that I've never seen before. By the end of the adventure, you would have swung on ropes, launched boulders from a catapult, rowed a boat (imagine how annoying that is at first), created a see-saw with an anvil at one end, and even operated construction equipment with wrecking balls to destroy walls. You'll also visit many different environments such as a mansion, a train yard, a mountain, a construction site, a medieval castle, a lake, and a power plant. As you can tell, the clever puzzles and variety of situations add up to one satisfying and surprisingly lengthy campaign.
One of Human Fall Flat's coolest features is that you can play it cooperatively with a friend and let me tell you; playing with two players makes it a much more enjoyable experience. For one, the puzzles are easier as you can work together to solve them. Also, if one player manages to make progress and the other is lagging behind then you could open up shortcuts to help them out or just have the slower player fall off course so they can spawn further along. Of course, the laughs are more plentiful with a pal by your side, too.
As I've already touched upon, Human Fall Flat can be an extremely irritating game at times. There's nothing more annoying than almost making it past a string of tricky jumps only to fall and have to start all over again. There are also plenty of tedious moments that'll surely test your patience. The most prominent example of this is rowing the boat. Sure, you'll get the hang of it eventually but reaching that point involves much tedium. Finally, even though the campaign is rather lengthy, it sure doesn't feature much replay value. The only substantial reason to play stages again is to unlock some clever trophies / achievements but there are no time challenges or leaderboards. Therefore, replaying the campaign will only be enjoyable for gamers who like unlocking these sorts of superficial things.
Human Fall Flat could possibly be the next big goofy indie game with odd controls and it's also one of the most enjoyable cooperative physics-based puzzlers around. Just make sure your patience is in check before you Fall Flat.
- + Strange controls combine with clever puzzles to create uniquely satisfying gameplay
- + Lengthy and varied campaign
- + Playing cooperatively is a blast
- - Frustration factor can be off the charts
- - Some portions are needlessly tedious
- - Very little replay incentives