PAX South 2016: Light Fall
Last year at PAX South I found this game on the show floor called Light Fall. At first glance, it looks like a faster-paced Limbo. The game’s protagonist is a black mysterious boy who doesn’t know who he is. On this journey, he is followed by an owl who also acts as the narrator of the story. Traversing the various areas of the world, Numbra, will help uncover the mysterious past the boy has lived. The story is told through beautiful cinematics that help tell the backstory of the world of Numbra.
Light Fall plays like a 2D puzzle platformer, but has one main mechanic that makes it stand out. Early on in the game you’ll encounter what is known as the Shadow Core. This Shadow Core acts as a platform that will appear right underneath the character. It can be used to reach new heights, or cross a large gap full of spikes. This ability isn’t infinite though, as it can only be used a few times before it runs out. When you land on solid ground, the amount of times you can use the Shadow Core resets. The Shadow Core can be used for other purposes as well. If lasers block your path, you can maneuver the block to prevent the laser from hitting you. Switches will need to be hit and you can slam the block onto them to open new areas. The last use for the Shadow Core I found, was using it as a power source to power a boat. This boat helped traverse a large body of water with many hazards. This was a new mechanic I had not yet seen in the game at this point, and was a nice change of pace from the other gameplay elements. So far these mechanics were nice to interact with, but I’m hoping more mechanics will be featured in the final game, as I can see the current ones becoming stale after a while.
Other gameplay elements the boy can use include sprinting and wall jumping. Sprinting helps cross larger gaps and wall jumping helps the boy gain new heights. These are simple enough mechanics that we’ve seen before, but the wall jumping specifically will need to be mastered for speed runners, because there is a speed running mode in the game. Some sections can be by-passed within seconds if you know how to use the wall jump correctly. I didn’t get to try out the Speed Run mode, as it didn’t offer any story segments, but during the Story section I played, I could see places where I could cut corners. Thankfully, if you try to cut corners and fail, the game offers checkpoints. These checkpoints don’t feel too lenient, as it may be a section or two before you get a new checkpoint. Upon death, you’ll respawn quickly with almost no loading. You’ll be right back into action, which is good, as I died quite a few times during my playtime.
When I played the game last year, the game had a very dark, black setting. With the updated build of the game I played in 2016, there was more color added to the game. Spikes and crystals were bright and that gave off an underground cavern feel. When outside, you can see a moon in the distant background, and northern lights accentuating the world.
Light Fall was an enjoyable experience, but I’m worried about how many other mechanics will be in the game. I’m sure there will be more, as it was only a slice of the game, but I’m worried the mechanics already shown in the game will become stale and repetitive. In some sections in the demo I knew what to do without hesitation. Light Fall is one to keep your eyes on in the future as it nears release on PS4.