Human Fall Flat Preview
Sometimes a game can surprise you.
I admit to being completely unenthused about the concept of Human Fall Flat, a physics-based puzzler where you guide a squishy and altogether unwieldy human called Bob through his own dreams. I doubted it'd really be that fun, and despite being told in the initial email that it was 'popular on YouTube
', I wasn't sure what to expect when I sat down with it.
I was wrong though. Human Fall Flat is shaping up to be a solid indie darling, and honestly I haven't laughed at a game as hard as I did here, playing through Human Fall Flat in its newly announced co-op with developer Tomas Sakalauskas.
There's something about the way you move that's just inherently funny. 'I had to use procedural animation,
' says Sakalauskas as we start 'because there was no way anyone would agree to motion capture this for me.
' Minutes later he was helping me climb over a wall by grabbing hold of my head and pulling, my arms flailing weakly as my avatar got caught between his avatar's grip and the forces of gravity. Moments earlier, I greeted his arrival into the world by picking him above my head and tossing him off the edge of the world, only for him to be deposited right back on top of me, knocking us both to the floor as he fell from above.
Human Fall Flat is a very, very silly game. You control Bob's arms independently, and they reach in whichever direction you're looking on the camera. This means to pick up things on the ground you look down, and grabbing things above you requires you to look up. However, the nuance comes from these things being true even if you're gripping onto something. If you're clinging onto a wall above your head, looking down causes you to try and lower your arms, propelling you up the wall blind.
This system can be a bit of a headache for the first few levels and is more of a challenge to master than the earlier puzzles, but by the time you get to the more advanced puzzles (including stealing boats, driving forklifts and tossing batteries around to try to power machines), you'll be whizzing around the levels like a pro. Of course, even if you fail as I often did, it's just a part of the fun. Falling from the map drops you back right back in the most recent room you've entered, as if nothing had happened.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the game was circumventing the puzzles. Sakalauskas pointed out that many players had fun trying to get around the puzzles instead of trying to solve them conventionally, and so he tried to build multiple ways to solve them. This doubles up for the co-op system, where you can help solve problems with both of your skills. The co-op is local only, but if you've got anyone you can coax to your house to play it with you, it's definitely the most enjoyable way to play. One early puzzle asks you to pull a train car out of the way of a door you need to access - instead we tossed ourselves over the top of the wall, landing on the far side with a thump and a healthy sense that we'd managed to stick two fingers up at the game.
If I have one concern, it's that in the 45 minutes I played the game I managed to get roughly half of the way through it, before being propelled into some of the later levels to see some of the puzzles further down the line. Although I'm told the early levels are quite short and the later ones increase massively in length, Human Fall Flat is here to give you a good time, not necessarily a lengthy one. If you fancy a quirky indie game that does things a bit differently, Human Fall Flat might be one to keep an eye on when it launches later this month.