Kickstarter Shout-out: Black the Fall

 photo blackthefall01.jpg I was having a tough time choosing between two different Kickstarters to write about. The first one was a strategy game called Highlands by Burrito Studio. I wanted to talk about Highlands because its beautiful hand-drawn-Disney-inspired graphics were really a sight to behold. However, the gameplay shown turned me off of the project slightly, since it looked like a bunch of instant messenger icons fighting instead of seeing the full individual units on screen. I still think it is a Kickstarter worth looking into if you loved the art style of Jotun, and are a fan of games like Civilization: Beyond Earth. The game’s funding goal is $20K, and they are currently at over $11K. You can go to this link if you want to support them. The second game, which is the focus for this Kickstarter Shout-out is called Black The Fall. This was the very first game to be put on Square Enix’s Collective site. This is a program where Square Enix handpicks some unique or promising indie games, and lets the public vote on whether they would personally want to fund this game. If you haven’t heard of this program before, then you probably have heard of the super popular Kickstarter game Moon Hunters, which was one of the games that got picked for this program. Let’s see why Square Enix and Black The Fall is getting my Kickstarter Shout-out!

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Black The Fall puts you in the shoes of Black, who has amnesia and must travel across the dystopian world that is taken over by an totalitarian organization known as “Machine.” It is up to you to traverse this landscape that is filled with themes of dread and oppression. The game’s story and style is said to be inspired by games like Flashback and Out of this World (or Another World, depending on where you are from). This means that the game will probably be more about engrossing you into the world, and making you feel the very grim themes and tones that surround you. Let’s hope that is true. Now with that said, I still want a reason to go through the game and not feel like I don’t really matter to the overall experience.

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The game is technically a 2.5D stealth/action/platformer. The developer calls it a 2.75D, but it’s 3D models on a 2D plane. You will need to make your way across the world, and you can do that in a multitude of ways. You can sneak your way past the civilians who might be intimidating, or just normal people under harsh circumstances, the agents that run the land, and the machines that work for said empire. Or if you want to be more like an action hero, you can be aggressive, and kill everything in sight. Heck, you could probably somehow pull off both. Depending on how you tackle the environment around you, the world will be shaped from your actions. Maybe agents and the robots won’t bother you, or the civilians will call you out if they see you. Just a reminder to drill into your head, everything you do from your skills to your weapons will depend on how the game’s world will react to you. You can also solve puzzles, and craft items to help you on your journey. It seems like this game does have a lot of depth to it, but I will voice my concerns about this later.

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The game’s graphics look beautiful. The oppressed world around you really does seem like there is no hope for taking down your robot overlords or making a better life for you. You will walk through torn down houses that the civilians still live in and drink their troubles away, beggars who might cause attention to yourself, and giant robots walking around damp swamps. It really does look like Flashback and Limbo had a baby with a little sprinkle of Counter Spy’s art style. The game’s soundtrack is depressing in tone, and of course fits with the overall mood and themes the game puts in front of the player. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find out anything about the composer for the game.

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Do I have any concerns? Well, since this is a cinematic style platformer in the vein of games like Flashback, I hope the game isn’t held back by clunky controls. I would hate to die in the game because the controls were fighting with me. I also hope the so-called changes in the world do actually have an impact. Sometimes you get games that say the choices you make changes everything, when really, nothing changes. I also hope that the game has enough mystery to its story to make it worth experiencing, and not go the Flashback Remake route and add in pointless cutscenes that take out the mystery element of the original game. However, I want to feel like I have a stake in the story, and not feel like I am just on a road trip through a miserable world.

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Overall, this looks like another promising game from Square Enix’s Collective program. I would highly recommend you check that program out, because the games that get voted enough for crowd funding purposes will appear on Kickstarter in the future. So far, Black The Fall’s funding goal is over $40K in US dollars, and is currently at over $22K in US currency. It’s a little concerning that this game isn’t getting the quick traction that Moon Hunters got, which bums me out since this looks like a great game, and the team behind Black The Fall has obvious talent that has worked at Ubisoft, Namco Bandai, and Activision. If you are looking for another 2.5D cinematic platformer to invest some cash into while you wait for The Way to be released, you should totally check out Black The Fall. Congratulations Sand Sailor Studios, Black The Fall gets my official Kickstarter Shout-out!

(If you want to support this Kickstarter, go to this link!)