If you traipse through the bottom shelf of the PC section in your local GAME store, no doubt you’ll find at least half a dozen simulator games. A Farming Simulator here, a Wood Chopper Simulator there, they can range from the niche to the … unique? I’m pretty sure Fork Lift Operator Simulator fits into the latter. Well the latest of these popular simulators has just hit Steam to much delight and critical acclaim due to its incredible level of realism. I believe ‘Friday Night Walk Home Simulator’ was its working title, but I guess Human Fall Flat is less of a mouth full.
Human Fall Flat is the latest physics based puzzle game to hit PCs and comes from the guys and gals at Curve Digital. Though it may be a tad difficult to do, the task is actually simple, just get to exit, overcoming all obstacles that happen to be in your way. The rather surreal, ambiguous narrative feels similar to the likes of Portal, where you, an unfortunate and helpless test subject, is put through devilish tests that’ll challenge every one of your limbs and nerves. You begin each task flat on your face having fallen from the sky, with no instruction of what to do and only your instincts to get from one room to the next, so how do you do that? The ole WASD keys move your hapless hero around the map, but it’s the mouse that bends, stretches and reaches at your command, so it’s not as easy as it sounds is it? Physics based games tend to be pretty funny and begin as great fun, but the novelty can run out rather quickly from an unnecessary level of crushing difficulty, so how does this stack up with the rest?
The best thing about Human Fall Flat is that its challenging enough without it becoming too dastardly and painfully frustrating. Sure it’s rather difficult at times, but stop and think for a minute and you’ll soon find the controls and solutions are pretty simple, well once you get your head around them anyway. Each map is quite basic in design and largely empty, but with that you get a clear idea of what your objective is, meaning instead you have more time to think about how the hell you’re gonna scale that cliff? The game doesn’t pretend to be or sell you anything else, Human fall flat is a very simple title in every sense of the word, which despite what you may think, in this case that isn’t really a bad thing as it just looks and sounds lovely. It’s bright, sharp and adorable, all you could ask for in a virtual world really, especially one where you shouldn’t care for what it looks like.
With most of these popular physics based games, watching someone play them can often be a lot more fun. For the most part I agree with this with the game in question, however where the fun really comes from in Human Fall Flat is knowing how to overcome an obstacle and epically failing trying to do it. Unlike Trails Fusion for example, a game which at times seems almost impossible and soul destroying, each puzzle in Human Fall Flat can be easily completed once you master your technique, and ultimately when you master the difficult controls. Spending 10 minutes trying to climb a set of stairs, only to launch yourself onto a swinging ball to no avail, is just as funny as it is nerve damaging. If you do get fed up of watching a friend play it and reckon you could do better, well put your money where your drawn on face is and play a local co-op game instead. Unfortunately, Human Fall Flat doesn’t feature any puzzles that require 2 players to complete, but it’s just another opportunity to laugh more at each other as you struggle to do the simplest of things and spend more time being weirdly competitive and deceitful.
Other than jumping straight into the puzzles, there really isn’t anything else for you to do. You may be enticed by the game’s Customisation option that will let you “create” your floppy chappy, however it’s not as creative, easy or as fun as it sounds. Acting as a poor man’s Microsoft Paint, you can colour your character, or for a real personal touch you can take a selfie and impose your face onto it … if you can actually get it to fit properly. It might sound ridiculous but it’s a very difficult process to get right, which believe it or not frustrated me more than any level in the game. Anyway, equipped with my terribly coloured bloke I began to tackle each puzzle that was thrown at me and rather enjoyed myself, which is a good job considering if you didn’t you’d be hard pushed to find any other reason to play it.
Human Fall Flat is a delightful and nicely challenging puzzle game that doesn’t over complicate nor deliberately anger its players. The problem with a lot of puzzle games is that they try too hard to be difficult and original, and sometimes in doing so they forget to make them any fun, however in this case that couldn’t be any further away from the truth. Human Fall Flat is daft, plain and simple, but it’s fun, oddly charming and will encourage you to do some actual thinking. It’s no Portal and it’s a shame that the co-operative option doesn’t expand the game in any way, but nevertheless it’s goofy and great fun, which all puzzle games should be.