We’ve recently witnessed a massive influx of ‘simulator’ games. Everything from surgeons to goats; there seems to be no end to the poorly controlled titles these people will come up with. That being said, I assumed going into “Human Fall Flat” that I’d be given control of a small, lumpy man with extremely poor motor skills (his name is Bob ) who had been tasked with a mundane job. And well, I was pretty much right. Nevertheless, as with other simulator titles, I actually ended up having a good bit of fun.
Controlling “Bob”, a man who is apparently on an I.V drip of Ambien, you tackle his various dreams and fears; everything from a perilous construction site, to an Aztec ruin. Your job is to simply progress through the area until you reach the exit, à la Portal. Sadly enough, the story is all but missing from the game, and I actually only learned about the dream bit and even the character’s name from the Wikipedia entry. I wish I was kidding.
What the game lacks in story, it tries to make up for in gameplay. Controlling movement with the left stick, jump with the X button, and the arms and grabbing with the triggers and right stick, the game begins feeling extremely limited. However, after a while of playing I actually found myself getting pretty good at controlling our good friend Bob. While this was hours later, it did eventually feel like I had mastered the controls. That’s more than can be said for some other well-known ‘sim’ games I’ve played. The controls are not without flaw though. As they sometimes flat out just seem to cease to work. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had my character not jump even while smashing the X button. This also happened with climbing up certain ledges; they just refused to do it at times.
You’ll find yourself jumping, grabbing, climbing, tumbling, and of course, falling throughout the various obstacles and puzzles the levels presents. I found myself doing everything from stacking boxes to driving a full-fledged forklift, the latter of which I was a natural at due to my time with Shenmue. The game does present some interesting and often fun little Rube Goldburg-esque designs. When you successfully overcome an area, it feels good. Even so, that may only be due to the absolute frustration you were surely feeling on every failed attempt that led up to that.
Which brings to me to my next point; this game is immeasurably better in co-op. The game only has local co-op available, which is really a shame because when playing with a friend, the game’s fun is enhanced greatly. I can honestly say I may not have finished the game without the godsend that is co-op mode. At least not as quickly as I did. The visuals are simplistic and fitting. The very definition of minimalistic, the visuals still feel right given the style and gameplay of this title. Unfortunately, even with these incredibly simple visuals the game still had a few frame rate stuttering and lag issues. This was mostly in co-op mode, and might be due to the split screens, but with these graphics, I really don’t think that’s an excuse.
The audio feels like a complete after thought. While the musical scores are very much present, they come in at random checkpoints and just feel very generic and out-of-place. I actually enjoyed the game more once I turned off the music and played my own. That’s not to say it’s “bad”; it’s just very forgettable. The sound effects are also run of the mill…nothing to write home about. Although I did randomly hear a single voice line upon replaying the first level and taking a screenshot. It said something about “loving” me and then never happened again. Was this supposed to happen? Was it a ghost trapped inside of my PlayStation? Am I slowly losing my mind after years of allowing games to corrupt my fragile mind? We will never know.
+ Frantic & fun co-op gameplay
+ Goofy and comical nearly all the time
+ Of no consequence
– Frustrating controls
– Low replay value
– Very shallow overall
Sound and music: 2/5
Replay value: 2/5
All in all, No Brakes “Human Fall Flat” is a fun little distraction that is best played together with a friend. Why? Because it’s hilariously goofy, and will almost always keep you laughing at the absurdity that you view on your screen. While the controls can be frustrating at times, and the replayability is extremely low, it is a decent time waster best enjoyed with friends and maybe a few shots of tequila.
Title: Human Fall Flat
Developer: No Brakes
Release date: 2017-04-25
Difficulty: Medium to Hard
Spent time: +9 hours
Average grade internationally: 69%
PEGI age rating: 3+
Price: 14.99 USD
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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