Do Not Fall

I’m Not So Good At Following Directions

But I Still Fell For Do Not Fall!
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: August 11, 2013
I’m a pretty level-headed fellow. As the years have gone on my temper has receded into the background and now my controllers only break when they fall off a chair. Long gone are the days when I might literally twist a controller in half in rage after I lost 45 minutes of progress to a cheap death or I missed getting a gold by a tenth of a second or I restarted an encounter for the thirtieth time. Yep, pretty calm. At least I was until I spent a little too much time with Do Not Fall.


So get this… in Do Not Fall you take on the role of a rabbit who is going into a drink machine I guess to get drinks out? There are some pretty zany movies that tell the “story” and the worlds all revolve around various drinks like bottled water, pineapple juice, green tea and even hot chocolate. Those themes serve as a sort of motif for each of the ten levels in each world and that’s about as far as the whole drink theme goes. See, the game itself is sort of a puzzle platformer that tasks you with zipping through each level as fast as possible, grabbing all the keys to open the gates and getting other collectibles while avoiding obstacles/bad guys. The twist is that most of the floors you walk on will disappear, either for a few seconds or forever. It’s best described as a much more advanced version of the Atari 2600 game Quick Step, or more accurately as a slightly simplified version of 2011’s Hamilton’s Big Adventure.

The game starts out hard and quickly ramps up to “really quite challenging” as you progress through the 80 or so levels. On top of getting through the levels you also have to collect enough three golden bolts in each stage to afford to unlock the next drinks. These assure you pretty much have to touch every square in the level at one point or another which is where a great deal of the difficulty comes in. In general there is a very specific path you have to follow to get this done as you can’t hover on a square long enough for nearby ones to reappear. It can take dozens of tries to get that down as there are often moments when you have to combine that speed with precise jumps that are difficult with the imprecise controls that come with a ¾ perspective playfield. Thankfully levels are generally under 2 minutes long so you can burn through a lot of attempts in a short amount of time.

Then there are also nuts (hardware not food) strewn about that let you unlock an array of bonus materials and cosmetic changes, all of which are so expensive you’ll have to run through levels a lot to get most this stuff opened up. Trying to do that (even with the multiple lives you’ll have in Normal difficulty) can be just a teensy bit hard. Especially once you routinely have enemies around that push you over the edge with surprising ease. On top of all THAT, there is also a bonus challenge on each level that unlocks an extra level in each drink. These challenges range from “don’t collect any nuts” to “smash all the boxes” to “kill all enemies” (the bad guys all move on set paths, and you can remove a floor along their route to make the fall off). If you are like me you have to get all the challenge, nuts and bolts in every level and this is a game that makes you really work for that stuff. Fortunately you don’t have to do everything in one run, you can redo the level and focus on just getting one of those tasks completed (you do still have to complete the level each time), sort of like GripShift (I still fire THAT up once in a while too!).

Other than incredible challenge, the other thing Do No Fall has going for it is the charm of its story and aesthetic. This game doesn’t present a rich tapestry of art assets, but it does make great use of color and themes to provide a nice backdrop that helps calm your frayed nerves from repeated falling. It’s bright, it’s happy, you’re probably not.

Then there is the multiplayer. Think of it as a stripped down version of your favorite mini-game collection. You’ll find six games that can be played local or co-op with up to four player. If you don’t have enough friends then the AI fills in rather admirably. All 6 games place you in a small arena where the floor will fall out as you move around and you play some primitive form of soccer, tag, king of the hill or one of the other “run around and hit each other” variations they include. It’s relatively fun in short bursts but there isn’t any sort of persistent scoring system or depth to be found here.

Whether or not Do Not Fall is your type of game depends of a few factors. Are you good with punishing difficulty and lots of repetition (if you like Trials-styled games then you fit that description) and don’t have high blood pressure then this is a charming challenge that you’ll probably like as much as I did. If you are short on patience and just want to shoot shit stay away from this because you’ll probably be spending another $50 on a new controller when all is said and done.
The Verdict
7.5

Do Not Fall is a game made for those of us who enjoy a challenge. The simple concepts and steep learning curve mean this isn't for everyone so know your limits before going in. The charm of the story and the design are universal however!

7.5Graphics:

The game has a neat soda-machine motif that helps make up for a lack of detail and sharpness in the models and backgrounds. Cute enemy design made me smile quite a few times.

6.5Sound:

There isn't much to say about the sound here. The music is inoffensive and the sound effects are sparse but not grating.

7.0Control:

It certainly can be very hard to pull off jumps and dashes with type of precision required for some levels. That isn't necessarily the fault of the developer as much as it is the challenge of moving in that perspective.

7.5Gameplay:

It's a simple concept executed with dastardly cunning level design that pushes your skills to the limit and punishes small mistakes instantly. None of the levels are truly unbeatable, they just require a lot of analysis. Don't expect a lot of variety.