Human: Fall Flat Anniversary Edition
A Surprisingly In-Depth Adventure
Originally released in 2016 on PC, Human: Fall Flat was an action-platformer that was simple in its premise, yet unique in its execution. You play as a character with the physics of a gelatin-like creature who needs to get from Point A to Point B. Aside from jumping, there are no outside mechanics or skills to learn as everything the player needs to complete their goal is in front of them. This is where the "physics" comes in, as one button controls the left limb and the other controls the right limb. These are used to interact with objects, lifting them, and moving larger ones to create platforms.
As far as a story is concerned, there is none. Your character falls from the sky and lands on a platform, where upon reaching the end, they fall down another platform. If anything, the game is thorough with its "Human: Fall Flat" title, but there is a certain charm I enjoyed with this game. It can be comparable to other physics-based action games, most notably Fall Guys and Gang Beasts. These aren't exactly cut from the same cloth, however.
Raise Your Arms High And Stretch!
To get anywhere, such as lifting objects, requires the player to use their limbs like one would in real life. Simply pressing the limb's button is not enough, players will need to use the analog sticks to control movement. Aside from a camera function, the right stick controls the player's gaze from looking above to crouching below. To grab objects on the floor, the player will need to tilt the stick towards the ground, only then for the player to pick the object up.
When climbing mechanics are introduced, the player will need to extend both arms by pressing both buttons, look up to the direction of the ledge, and prop themselves up with the left stick. It all sounds confusing and convoluted, but it's far easier to execute than it sounds. Over time, players will do this as subconsciously as walking with their two legs. It's amazing to think just how similar walking in person and controlling the avatar in-game is.
There Are Multiple Solutions And The Game Doesn't 'Babyfy' You
From the beginning, there are "tutorial tapes" meant to help players who are stuck at a certain puzzle. The cool thing about this is that it's not necessary to listen to the tapes. If the player feels bold in attempting the challenges that await in Human: Fall Flat, then they most certainly can. The puzzles all have a bit of a 'flow' to them, making progression simple to grasp. It reminded me of the original Portal in that all the tools you could ever want are there to use.
Another example is a rope that players will come across. Obviously, the rope is meant to travel to the other side of a chasm, but there is no tutorial to teach you how to swing. Using what you've learned in the first half-hour, players will learn to grab the rope and use it as a swing. Prior knowledge of platforming games also helps, but it's satisfying to try something out only to find out it works. Sometimes, the strategy may not be what the devs intended, so long as you reach the end.
As The Puzzles Increase, The Repetition Does As Well
This is less of a criticism and more of a "what you see is what you get" deal, but Human: Fall Flat begins to show its repetition after a while. Sure the environments change as well as the geographical landscape. But even after a while, players will catch on to what needs to be done until the newest contraption is introduced. It's a matter of "rinsing and repeating," but this isn't a negative at all. As mentioned before with games like Portal, are meant to test the player's knowledge of using what they learned.
For a deeply engrossing story with development, players should look elsewhere. For others who wish to have easy "pick up and play" fun that's hard to master, Human: Fall Flat is that perfect game. Although it has been released on other platforms, the Switch version is a solid choice. It never dips below in framerate and the simplistic graphics hold well on the portable machine. A year later, Human: Fall Flat is still an impressive physics game.
Human: Fall Flat Anniversary Edition is available on the Switch.