Sand Sailor Studio’s dystopian puzzle game reminds me a lot of INSIDE, but does it also have some ideas of its own? Here’s my Black The Fall review.

Black The Fall is yet another one of those Kickstarter games I’ve thrown money at.  The campaign promised a “a sharp, modern action game set in a post-communistindustrial world.” Being a total sucker for any fictitious dystopian setting, I happily backed Bucharest-based Sand Sailor Studio‘s campaign.

Not long after the campaign ended, I received my Steam key. But I’ve stopped playing games that are in alpha, beta, Early Access, or similar stages of development. I spent way too much time doing that with Star Rules 2. Time is a scarce resource these days, so I’d rather play a finished product instead. Then, in July last year, Black The Fall was released. But for no particular reason, I didn’t play it then either.

It wasn’t until a week ago that I finally took the plunge, and booted the game for the first time.

Screenshot from Black The Fall.
Black The Fall by Sand Sailor Studio.

INSIDE’S Little Brother?

At first glance, Black The Fall looks like Playdead’s critically acclaimed INSIDE, which I reviewed back in 2017. Being released a year later than INSIDE, it’s safe to assume that Sun Sailor Studio looked to the game for a wee bit of inspiration. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, although the similarities are stunning.

Both games throw you into the action with no backstory. They’re both set in a dark, dystopian universe, and the player, as the protagonist, have to escape from Something. Exactly who or what, is up to the player to try to figure out. Something has enslaved humanity, yet the protagonist has managed to break free of its iron grip. Trapped inside Something’s domain, the player now has to puzzle their way to freedom.

The puzzles in both games are mostly solved by timed movements, or by interacting with the environment. In the latter department, however, Black The Fall thankfully introduces some ideas of its own. Without spoiling too much of the plot, I can say that you get access to a laser device, and that you’ll be joined by a happy yapping fella that can take a beating.

Screenshot from Black The Fall.
Black The Fall: This can’t possibly be a good sign of things to come.

Frustrated & Happy About It.

The puzzles in Black The Fall start out pretty easy, but the difficulty is kicked up a notch early on. The nature of the puzzles also change a bit when new ways to interact with the environment are introduced.  While some of the puzzles take some time – and sometimes numerous tries – to figure out, they don’t feel totally impossible. In some cases, you’ll even find hints plastered on huge billboards. While this is helpful, it makes little sense that the mysterious Something allows the billboards to stay up.

Did I die a gazillion times when trying to figure out some of the puzzles in Black The Fall? Yes. Did I get frustrated? Yes. Did I have a great time? Absolutely.

The game won’t give you endless hours of playtime. I spent roughly 5 hours completing the game, but that’s because I’m an idiot. Less dimwitted players might be able to clear the game in maybe half that time. Add in an additional hour to clear all the Steam achievements, and the average player would probably spend 3 to 4 hours in Black The Fall.

It’s not a lengthy experience, bu if you’re looking for a casual puzzle game that’s dystopian as fuck, Black The Fall is right up your alley.

Screenshot from Black The Fall.
Black The Fall does not limit itself to the indoors.