Where Cards Fall Review thumbnail

Where Cards Fall Review

Clever puzzles for cool people

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on 🎴

Where Cards Fall is rated Everyone 10+ by the ESRB

There are many excellent practical puzzle games on Switch and I just played another one so here's the super-clever Where Cards Fall.

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Where Cards Fall screenshot 1
Hey, get your head out of the clouds

Where Cards Fall is an intriguing game where you run and hop around as a teenager while assembling and collapsing houses of cards. Each level is a screen where you must figure out how to work your way from the start to the exit. At any time, you can cycle through the onscreen decks of cards and there may be a few of them to put in place. Upon selecting one, you can either move it around or expand and contract it then once you let go, it will automatically assemble a structure if you left it in an expanded state. This might sound complicated but it's surprisingly intuitive and the very gentle learning curve is implemented perfectly as to never leave you in the dust. That's not to say that it isn't challenging, though; in fact, Where Cards Fall can be a very tricky game but in the best sense of the word. v1d30chumz 18-208-132-74

Where Cards Fall screenshot 2
This Dance Dance Revolution machine is missing its balance rails

On a presentational level, Where Cards Fall is set in a dreamlike world where each scenario feels real yet there are always details that make them improbable such as being set in space. Meanwhile, the cutscenes imply that the teenager who you're playing as is leaving certain aspects of youth behind in order to grow up which is bittersweet, especially considering how it's all portrayed without words via very subtle story clips. The soundtrack is lovely, too, and it all adds up to one mesmerizing and captivating game world.

Although the basics of Where Cards Fall are intuitive and enjoyable, things gradually become much more complex throughout the adventure as more intricacies are introduced. For example, you'll come across additional card types such as ones that form structures with triangle roofs that you can climb and ones that create multi-storied towers. There are other mechanics in place, too, like how you have to slide cards over card structures and up ramps and you have a little jump that you can use to leap over small gaps.

All of this is great stuff that makes Where Cards Fall a worthwhile puzzle game but it does have some issues. First, the controls are mostly mapped to a shoulder button with the left and right stick both utilized but I wish that you only used one stick while alternating between its functions with 2 different shoulder buttons. That would have made things less fumbly to start. Next, I found some puzzles to require too much back-and-forth busywork which made them feel tedious. In other words, when you already know the solution, having to dink around to get there sometimes isn't fun. Finally, I wish that there were some substantial replay incentives because all you do is work through the campaign then you're done with no reason to play through again or outdo your previous efforts.

Where Cards Fall screenshot 3
Just tending to my space barn

Where Cards Fall is a worthwhile puzzle game that genre enthusiasts should definitely add to their gaming library. With clever mechanics, a lovely and slightly abstract setting, and well-done learning curve; it's quite a swell experience.

  • + Exceptionally unique puzzle gameplay with some very clever complexities
  • + Fantastic dreamlike setting
  • + Steady yet gradual learning curve
  • - Controls require some fiddling around before you get used to them
  • - Some puzzles can be kind of tedious
  • - No substantial replay incentives
7.5 out of 10
Gameplay video for Where Cards Fall thumbnail
Watch A.J. play Where Cards Fall
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