Light Fall Review
Release Date: April 26 2018
Platform(s): PC (reviewed), Switch
Developer: Bishop Games
I have to admit, I’m not very good at platformers, but when the planets align and the stars are right, I do enjoy playing them. A couple have even found their way on to my list of favourite games. I particularly love ones that tell a story; platformers that have breathtaking graphics, heartbreaking music and fascinating characters. These games transport the player through challenges that, while tough, are worth pushing through to see what’s on the other side. I was hoping to find another of these games in Bishop Games’ Light Fall, and with a pun for a name and an engaging trailer, it was off to a good start.
Light Fall certainly has a lot going for it. It features quite beautiful graphics as its fantastical setting of Numbra is realised in black and blue silhouettes. The orchestral score by French Canadian composer Jean-Philippe Tessier is absolutely exquisite, definitely one of the best game soundtracks I’ve heard this year. The gameplay is fun too. One of the best parts is mucking around with the main character’s ability to summon a cube of darkness which can be used in a variety of different helpful ways. All these things add up to a good game, but not the great platformer I’d been hoping for.
There have been many great platformers released over the last ten years, and Light Fall definitely takes quite a bit of inspiration from them. But in taking so much inspiration from these games, Light Fall loses much of its own unique identity. It does certainly feature some fantastic original ideas, many of them feel overshadowed by design and visual references to other games. This was particularly disappointing, as without these references the emphasis on unique ideas such as the shadow core cube would have made for a much better game.
Another major problem in Light Fall was the level design, which I found to be very uneven, both in terms of standard and difficulty. The first few levels have an excellent balance between easy and challenging puzzles and feature a variety of ways to explore your way through them. However, at the end of the third level, the player is faced with a boss battle, which only has one incredibly specific and difficult way through it. I spent longer on this section of the game that I did on the previous three levels combined. This change in style is so dramatic that it felt like I was playing a different game. Perhaps this section and the others like it will give platforming veterans an enjoyable challenge, but I found the sudden and extreme difficulty spike very frustrating.
Ultimately, there are many things to like about Light Fall, but nothing that really seems to stand out and make it special. It does have a beautiful world, a fantastic soundtrack and mostly fun gameplay, but they aren’t enough to make me want to keep coming back to the world of Numbra. I would recommend this game to anyone who really loves platformers as it’s definitely a decent addition to the genre, but I don’t think it’s an engaging enough game to be enjoyed by a casual platformer-aficionado like me.
Excellent orchestral soundtrack
Interesting and fun gameplay mechanic
Immersion in the game is often broken by continuous visual references to other platformers
Sudden and extreme difficulty spikes