I Kickstarted Light Fall way back in 2015 and have played it at different shows over the last three years. As I watched it develop I could see the promise developing. Now that the game is finally out and it has, mostly, lived up to my expectations.
The gameplay is tight, the environments and narration are wonderful, and the difficulty scales well. The only real downside is that it doesn’t quite offer up enough. Light Fall has exceptional controls with an added twist. You control the “Shadow Core,” a little box that you can spawn nearly anywhere you jump. This means that sometimes even if you miss a jump you might be able to save it. Be careful though because you get a limited number of uses until you touch flat ground again. Once you hit a ground surface it recharges the ability. In the later stages of the game, you won’t be afforded such luxuries. Thankfully the game ramp up to punishing difficulty is gradual.
There are other cool things you can do with the Shadow Core, like creating one to hold onto or to move around to block a moving obstacle. All of them are useful and in some areas very much needed. I suggest getting accustomed to the shadow core and what it can do in the earlier levels. This will help keep you from becoming too frustrated in the later more difficult levels.
The controls and gameplay are great but not perfect. It is far too easy to spawn a cube when you are jumping up walls, wasting one of your charges. Most of the time, this will hose you. Oh, you need one more cube to clear a long gap? Well too bad because when you climbed that wall back there it spawned a random cube that you didn’t need. There were a handful of times that I became frustrated because of this. The random cube spawn is really the only complaint I have. Typically, in these smaller platformer games there are lots of little problems. However, Bishop Games worked hard to make it a fun difficult game with tight controls.
I enjoyed all of the environments, character designs, and narration. The Night Owl, a Stryx, acts as the narrator and your tutor. While he does guide you through this darkened world, he can also be grumpy. He has a lot of knowledge but a short temper, so be prepared for some constructive criticism. The character design is cute and reminds me a little of Ori and the Blind Forest. Each act is in a different place. You go from the Lunar Plains to the Unknown Depths. Each level is different, beautiful, and dangerous in its own way. The focal point of the story is to save the Numbra people from a strange darkness filled with crystalline structures that kill anyone that touches them. The Gods seem to be unable or unwilling to help the people, so you must find the cause and bring it to an end. There will be sacrifices and successes throughout.
The biggest problem I have with Light Fall is that there isn’t enough. There are only 4 acts and a big boss battle. It’s a knock but at the same time somewhat good for Bishop. I wanted so much more but it’s because what is there is very good. To make up for the shortness of the main story they added in a lot of collectibles and the ability to save frozen citizens in secret places around the map. For me, the speed runs are of particular interest. I love competing against friends to see who can do the best. It’s what kept me on Trials HD for such a long time. Even after finishing the game, I played through the speed runs just to see where I would end up on the leader board and tried to push myself into the upper echelon.
Light Fall offers a lot in the way of gameplay, environment, voice acting, and difficulty. There are a couple of small issues involving length and missteps with cube spawning. If you love great platformers and want to support an indie studio I highly suggest picking this one up. You will not be disappointed with the beautiful scenery, fun voice acting, and creative story (especially for a platformer). The biggest question is, do you have what it takes to free Numbra from its eternal darkness?