Review: Light Fall

Review: Light Fall

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the dude from LIMBO loved to speedrun? I sure hadn’t, but it seems Bishop Games may have! Light Fall is a challenging platformer where you can create your own platforms and go at your own pace, whether that’s slow and steady or blisteringly fast.

Title: Light Fall
Developer: Bishop Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Game Version: Final
Review Copy: Provided by Developer
Interface: Handheld Switch Console
Available on Switch, Steam (Windows, Mac)

Craft your path in this innovative 2D platformer. Master the use of your own platform to explore the Forgotten World of Numbra and save the land and its inhabitants from an imminent threat. Do you have what it takes to survive in perilous Numbra?

Light Fall shares a few similarities with LIMBO – a dark protagonist, challenging platforming and more depth than one may first expect. But there’s plenty to make Light Fall its own game as well, beginning with the ability to create blocks at will. As the game progresses, you can put these blocks underneath you to give you something to land on, in front of you to give you something to wall jump off of, or even throw them like a projectile or move one somewhere nearby with telekinetic-style powers. This not only manages to create some cool puzzles, it makes a great deal of each level open to exploration. You can zig-zag with the blocks in front of you to climb around things or just throw em underneath you to climb vertically or cross great distances horizontally. You’re limited to the number of blocks before you touch solid, natural ground though, so you can’t just zig-zag way into the air and then bridge across the clouds in safety. The puzzles and obstacles all take these into consideration as well, and purple crystals of death, lasers and all sorts of other obstacles don’t care if you’re able to conjure blocks, they’ll kill you just as easily as anyone else.

Where LIMBO had some surprisingly detailed backgrounds, Light Fall has some surprisingly stunning ones of their own. Whenever I stopped to figure out how to tackle an upcoming segment, I was amazed at just how gorgeous the world was. There’s also a touching story here, although it’s so short and shrouded in mystery that I can’t say much without spoiling anything. What I can say is that the owl who guides you is awesome, the collectibles scattered throughout the levels help fill in the story even more, and that the story does make sense in the long run (and even explains how you can create blocks out of thin air!).

The game can be beaten in a single day (assuming you can get past the last couple levels, unlike me!), but once you beat the game Light Fall really shines. There’s a Speedrun section from the main menu that lets you replay any level you’ve beaten, and not only can you get your name on the leaderboard for each individual level, you can play a harder version of each level also. There are leaderboards for each level split into any% and 100% boards (that’s me, #10 on that leaderboard below, although at the time there were only 11 total names on it). There’s also the option to go up against a ghost of your choice, so you can get some tips on how to race through a level like the pros (if you can keep up well enough to even see them!). You also have the option of going through previous levels without speedrunning to collect unlockables and practice.

I’ve never been much of a speedrunner personally, but there really is a sense of speed and exhilaration in Light Fall, even when you’re just exploring a level for the first time. It feels awesome blazing through areas using platforms you create yourself, just like it feels awesome dodging all sorts of obstacles and somehow miraculously surviving a really difficult part of a level. There were only a couple times that I wished there were more checkpoints, but it was mostly because they were very difficult segments and I kept failing toward the very end of them. Those who love hard games, speedrunning, and especially both will get a good amount of gameplay out of this one, as there are just over a dozen levels to master and explore, plus the hard versions of each. It’s especially fitting for handheld play on the Switch as the levels are fairly short, especially the earlier ones when you know what to do.

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