(PlayStation Network)

Do Not Fall (PlayStation Network)

Game Review

Do Not Fall Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Greg Giddens

Free fallin'

Abiding to the rules of the title proves to be a bit of a challenge in Do Not Fall, but it's a task worth trying. Despite some minor repetition niggles, this puzzle platformer is a lot of fun – even if it does flirt ever so slightly with the bonkers side.

The premise harks back to the days of yore, where video games possessed a sliver of narrative, and characters, environments, and settings could be, well, practically anything. You control an adorable bunny on a quest to collect a series of beverages, inside a vending machine made up of different worlds that reflect each soda. It's an odd framing device for the puzzle platforming, but ultimately an unimportant one; once you're dashing around each level, frantically hunting for collectibles, the setup ceases to matter.

Each level tasks you with collecting keys that allow you to reach and unclog a mechanism that gets the beverage in the world flowing again. Depending on the world, this can range from switching on machinery to forcing a cow down a tube. The method of cleaning out the components is automated, so it's the keys that you'll be the most concerned with. Where the challenge comes from, however, is that the majority of the square blocks that you'll be running over disintegrate and collapse into the abyss once you've stepped on them, regenerating a short time after. As a result, you need to keep moving, or you'll plummet to your death. This forces you to think and react quickly: you'll often see a key at the end of a column of blocks with additional trinkets scattered along the route, but these will compromise your footing. Collecting bolts and the like allow you to purchase new characters and temporary boosts between levels, but grabbing all of these while maintaining your footing will prove a test.

It's extremely fast paced and quickly becomes a significant challenge, especially if you want to collect every last bolt, as well as the special golden bolts that unlock bonus stages. Furthermore, each level grades you with a letter and includes level specific challenges to up the ante a little further, such as avoiding collectibles. Despite being tough, the controls are simple to understand, allowing you to concentrate fully on the puzzles. You're limited to running, jumping, and dashing, with the latter two options combining to augment you with a longer jump. Destructible obstacles can be dashed into to break them apart and pass through, meanwhile you'll be running and jumping frantically around each level avoiding moving obstacles and enemies, such as spiked balls, roaming sheep, and charging bulls. For such a cute aesthetic, it sure does prompt an adrenaline surge.

Anthropomorphised rabbits, pigs, mermaids, and more comprise the roster of playable characters, while cartoon cute sheep, hawks, and snowmen make up the range of enemies. The game looks vibrant and charming, and will trick you into thinking that it's easier than it actually is. Fortunately, while you will plummet to your death frequently, you'll respawn instantly with your progress intact. If you run out of lives, you'll restart the level, but each stage is short enough to eschew frustration. Even the larger stages include extra lives and checkpoints.

It will take you about four to five hours to play through the 70 or so levels, and it will take you a couple more to polish up all of the extra challenges. Fortunately, there's a multiplayer offering should you make your way through all of that, with minigames such as football, and more on offer. These build upon the ground falling mechanic from the main game, and augment the otherwise simplistic ideas with a little excitement.

Conclusion

Do Not Fall is a challenging and thoroughly enjoyable puzzle platformer that will easily swallow hours of your time. It does get a little bit repetitive in places, but it's not hard to fall for the title's quirky presentation and thoughtful design.

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