Day 39: FallDown

Posted: 2010/12/18 in Indie Games
Tags: , ,

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #39, and today’s game is “FallDown”.

FallDown is an indie hit on LAN PCs and iOS devices that’s made its way to the Xbox Indie Games channel. When I first booted the game up I did was I usually do, hit start, look for something that tells me which parts of the controller do what, and then play. Hitting start right at the beginning starts the game without any further ado. The game was subsequently over in about 5 seconds, at which point it asked me if I wanted to purchase it or exit the game. What the heck?

Confused, I tried again. Same result. Was I really beating the first level in just a few seconds and then being asked to buy the game? As it turns out no, I should have RTFM.

The game’s instructions scroll across the screen when you load it up. Once you hit “start” or “A” you’re right into the action. But if you hold back from doing so, you’ll be rewarded with two things: instructions (cool!) and some genuinely amusing commentary if you wait long enough (with the game enquiring why you don’t seem to want to play, attempting to educate you on where the Start button is, etc.).

When you finally do start playing, the game launches you into a world where sawblades inexorably make their way down a shaft, and you must constantly fall down it to avoid them; last character standing wins. The game is for 1 to 8 players. 8 players you ask? Let me explain. Each controller controls two characters. You can choose to control each of the two yourself, or you can share the controller with someone else. Multiplying that by up to four controllers gets you up to 8 players. I found that I really liked controlling two players by myself, though, as it was an interesting challenge navigating two characters simultaneously. At first it was simple enough if you can keep them both together, but as the game speeds up it becomes increasingly hard to keep them synched up. Once one misses a gap and the other makes it, you’re often doing opposite things for each character and it becomes pretty manic.

When playing multiplayer, an additional challenge is keeping your characters straight from those of your fellow players (who aren’t really opponents, you are all trying to survive together). This is aided by characters that look extremely different one from the next (old standbys like pirates, skeletons, and police officers are here, as are more amusing characters like an ensign expandable “redshirt” from Star Trek). As you play the game you continually unlock new characters.

This is one game that thrives on multiplayer. It’s amusing, and challenging, enough for singleplayer, but it’s the multiplayer where the real replay value comes in. At 80 Microsoft Points, I’m glad to have it in my collection for when friends come over, or when I’d like to get just a little further down the shaft than I have managed before (I’ve got down to level 8 so far, and even now I can feel level 9 calling me, waiting to be reached).

Click here to download “FallDown”, and then please come back to rate the game.



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