Fall of Light is the first title by the two-person studio RuneHeads and published by 1C Company. The game has an interesting mix of Dark Souls and ICO that works surprisingly well. The world is interesting, if not all that great looking, and enemies pose a nice challenge that one would expect from something inspired by Dark Souls. It may not light the world on fire, but this dark gem is certainly worth your time.
Fall of Light currently has a free demo out now on Steam with a full release coming September 28th, 2017.
The story of Fall of Light is told in a very similar fashion to that of Dark Souls. There are few cutscenes to explain what is happening most of what is told comes by way of interesting NPC's that you find scattered throughout the world. It is vague, and it is all the more interesting because of very little is spelled out for you.
What you do know is that you are an old, retired warrior named Nyx who is escorting his daughter, an Indigo child named Aether, to the last place on Earth that still has sunlight. It gives you a basic goal that becomes more complicated as you explore and learn more about the world around you.
Fall of Light takes the players through a dark world as they explore different dungeons with a mixture of dangerous enemies and deadly traps. You have to be on your toes at all times because you never really know what is waiting around the corner. The tension slowly builds as you go deeper and deeper into the twisted world, wondering what dangers await ahead. Combine this with some truly dangerous enemies and interesting traps and you get a winning formula.
The gameplay of Fall of Light takes on an interesting mix of Dark Souls combat and exploration and ICO's companion. While the game is really one big escort mission, it certainly isn't a bad one. Aether is pretty annoying in the beginning as you are learning the basics, but quickly becomes far more useful. She gains abilities of her own, such as the ability to stun enemies, and she acts as a light in the dark. While you do get a lamp, Aether allows light and the ability to fight. She is a true companion, not just someone to get in the way.
Combat is varied with plenty of weapon combinations to choose from. The weapons are quite different and some work better than others depending on the situation. Slower power weapons, for instance, aren't going to work great against the quicker enemies that close the distance before you can get a swing in. However, they will demolish slower moving enemies heavy attacks. This system works great for getting you to switch up your battle style for the situation and doesn't let you become too comfortable with just one weapon.
It also helps the different weapons have different abilities. Daggers will cause bleeding damage that lasts until the enemy is dead or heals while the starting sword has a chance to deal a critical attack for extra damage. This is a good system that encourages experimenting with different weapons to see what works best for you.
The combat itself should be very familiar to fans of Dark Souls. You dodge and/or block attacks while waiting for an opening to get your own shots off. It can be quite difficult at times, as enemies can take you down in just a few hits. As expected, the bosses provide the most challenge with interesting designs and attack patterns that can have you dodging out of the way of raining fireballs as you wait for an opening. They are a good challenge and I never felt like any of my deaths were cheap.
The game does still have some issues, however. Due to the overhead camera angle, entering buildings can be a little frustrating as you can't really see what is inside, which can lead to you getting ambushed. I'm also not a fan of how dodging tends to lock on and automatically roll you around the target. This can occasionally lead to placing you in a bad position where you suddenly have enemies on multiple sides. Aether could also stand to go running more because holding her hand to lead her out of danger quickly can lead to her just collapsing on the ground after a few seconds.
Graphics and Audio
The graphics aren't too great. They are a tad nostalgic because they remind me quite a bit of Runescape, but that isn't exactly a positive. This is offset slightly by the much better art style, which does help distract the eye from how ugly most things are. It also helps that the game is set in darkness, so not too much is illuminated at once. It's not the ugliest game I've ever played, but it definitely not winning any beauty pageants.
The audio is a step up, but still not great. The voice acting is serviceable, but nothing special. The same can also be said for the music and rather generic sound effects. Nothing here is absolutely terrible, but it isn't great either. It doesn't ruin the experience, but the lack of polish here does hurt.
Fall of Light manages to combine elements from Dark Souls and ICO rather successfully. The atmosphere is dark and the combat is tense. Story elements are vague and require you to put the pieces together to craft the full picture. While Aether can be annoying, she is often a help, and when she does get too annoying and you can always set her at a bonfire and come back for here once you cleared the area. While it certainly isn't the best looking game on the market, the unique art style makes it tolerable.
While Fall of Light is by no means a perfect title, it has some soul that makes the 5-6 hour journey worth taking. It may be dark and pretty ugly, but there is a light hiding under the surface that is worth discovering. Even if you do have to drag a very out of shape child around with you.
|+ Varied combat||– Graphics|
|+ Good puzzles||– Occasionally obnoxious camera|
|+ Interesting story/lore||– Aether too out of shape|