It’s a staple of almost every traditional platformer. You’re walking through a level when the floor begins to drop out from under you. It’s usually not a dominant part of the level. It’s just another layer of depth for the game. But have you ever wondered what would happen if an entire platformer was built around this falling floor mechanic? Well, that’s the premise of Do Not Fall, a new platformer from XPEC Entertainment.
The premise of Do Not Fall is simple. The game takes place over several levels with an isometric layout. Each level contains a number of keys needed to either progress within the level or unlock the door guarding the level’s end. Like the title suggests, most of the tiles fall after you walk over them. Gameplay isn’t as stressful as it could come across, though. The tiles do respawn fairly quickly, and there are usually a handful of solid tiles to chill on while the falling blocks are regenerating.
All else aside, the game is built really well. The controls are tight, and the character is surprisingly reliable in doing what you intend to do. Movement speed can seem a bit slow at first, but the levels are built around it, so it’s not intrusive. It’s also clear that a good amount of thought was put into designing the levels themselves. They’re fun to complete and just frustrating enough to keep you engaged. Do Not Fall doesn’t have a lot of complexity by any stretch of the imagination, but what it does, it does well.
Unfortunately, this is the extent of Do Not Fall’s strengths. Its biggest shortcoming by far is it’s lack of depth. The game has a single core concept — falling floors — and it fails to expand at all beyond that. Each new world offers a slightly new mechanic, but it’s never enough to keep the game interesting. There are only a handful of ways to make the falling floor concept interesting, and Do Not Fall uses them all up in the first hour of gameplay. If you play the first level, you’ve more or less played them all. Of course, there are several smaller faults in this game — the character voice effects are so astoundingly annoying that I eventually had to turn them off — but the lack of depth is the ultimate source of frustration with this game.
The worst part of critiquing this game, though, is that I can’t fault the developers for execution. For all I know, the developers made exactly the game they had planned. But the game’s core concept remains perhaps not flawed, but at least incomplete. If you’re looking for a fun game to distract your kids with, this game might actually be right for you. The art style is cute and colorful, the music is fun, the learning curve is unfrustrating, and it has enough levels and challenges to keep you occupied, even if you’re not particularly engaged. The multiplayer games are fun and interesting, but just like the rest of the game, the novelty wears off quickly. It could work as a fun party game, but it wouldn’t exactly be your whole evening.
In the end, Do Not Fall feels like the world’s best minigame. What it does, it does very well, but it doesn’t do much. It doesn’t feel like a full game, and that’s always going to be an issue, no matter how much it has going for it.
(Review code provided by Reverb Publishing. Thank you.)
ONLY SINGLE PLAYER SCORE
Story – N/A
Gameplay/Design – 9/10
Visuals – 8/10
Sound – 7/10
Lasting Appeal – 5/10
Overall – 7/10
(Not an average)
Rating: E (ESRB), PEGI 3+
Platform: PlayStation 3 (PSN)
Developer: XPEC Entertainment