Learning My Footing with “Light Fall”

When Bishop Games announced the April 26 release date for Light Fall, those who were familiar erupted into cheers in Twitter. Lots of “can’t wait to play” comments floated around, and someone shared that they have been flying from Puerto Rico to Texas just to play the game at PAX South. Another Twitter user even admitted that they’re excited about the game despite not knowing anything about it, simply because the artwork captivated them.

Light Fall is a platformer where, as Bishop Games co-founder Ben Archer told me, players handle the level design of each area. Think of it less in a Super Mario Maker sense, and more like the disappearing platform sections in Mega Man – except you determine when and where each platform appears and it doesn’t ever go away unless you do.

But that’s an oversimplification of what the developers crafted here. Often compared to Ori and the Blind Forest (or if you want a more recent similarity, look at Fe), Light Fall uses copious amounts of dark colors to evoke a sense of darkness around Numbra. This makes lighter colors pop out much more, creating not only a wonderful contrasting effect but also a mystical sight. Floating light blue particles against a dark purple background makes the area look more magical, while a bright white flash makes the action look more apparent against a dark backdrop.

Light Fall Screenshot

Controls are also a thing of wonder in Light Fall. Jumps are precise and summoning the Shadow Core (that’s your personal block’s name) below your feet has no deadly delays. And when you consider your momentum when running across a stage, it’s amazing that the Shadow Core keeps up with your speed perfectly: you’ll never summon it too early or too late, and you’ll never slide off due to your speed. It’s reliable, it’s dependable, and it’s there when you need it.

The Shadow Core is more than just a stepping stone, too. Just in the early levels, you’ll see the Core used as a shield against lasers. You’ll cut mysterious strings with it. And even though it only has four charges in midair, it has a subtle yet effective way of indicating remaining charges. Recharging is just as easy, too: simply touch a stable surface with your feet. It’s almost like the Weighted Companion Cube from Portal evolved and gained magical powers.

Light Fall Screenshot 2

The levels are also designed to promote creative use of the Shadow Core. There are no prescribed paths, and each one promotes a different aspect than the other. Want to blaze through the area and set your time? Go right ahead. Feeling a bit sheepish about your platforming? Take the safer route. Just want to see what’s in the other parts of the map? Recharge your Shadow Core and find out. The maps are not boundless but you can explore every nook and cranny if you’re up to it.

Intrigued yet? I hope so, because the five-person team at Bishop Games is excited to release this to the world next week. After spending a bit of time with Light Fall at this year’s PAX East, it’s no wonder that Nintendo gave its trailer a full feature in the recent Nindie Showcase. It’s beautiful, it’s intriguing, and it’s captivating. I can’t wait to experience the entire game, and it’s just right around the corner.


Editor’s note: Our full review is now live! Click this link to read it.

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