OK, this game is quite simply, gorgeous.
After some apocalyptic disaster in Paris fragments the city and the Eiffel Tower, you (a ragdoll meeple of the same persuasion as Human Fall Flat, or Little Big Planet) are left swinging from a tree on a fragment. This fragment is linked to others via portal doors, but gravity has gone wrong in a big way.
If you encounter a curving walkway, you can walk forward over, or up the walkway, and the vertigo I got when doing this was particularly acute, but it’s seamless and gives you a real sense of space.
The basic aim of the game is simply to move forward and onwards. There are some collectibles in the form of audio cassettes I encountered along the way, and they count towards the number available in a particular zone, giving you an idea how well you’ve explored each fragment.
The environment is wonderfully urbanised with graffiti, stickers, tags, street and road-work furniture, and greenery. The controls are also madly simple: move and look. No jump. No interact.
At least to begin with. Additional actions and controls are revealed and unlocked slowly, leaving me to wonder what other actions are ultimately possible.
Puzzles that I’ve encountered are generally button puzzles where you simply walk over them to trigger them. The absence of jumping looks to be mainly to encourage (maybe force) you to look at each fragment in more than the ordinary three dimensions, or rather orientations. Most of the brain work goes into working out how to navigate some of the fragments.
You start off by looking for curves where you can transition from the flat to 90 degrees up or down. Quite a few of the views I’ve had so far become rather M.C. Escher like, with stairs at impossible angles, and you will find yourself going 180 degree from where you were in just a few steps. What tricks you is being so surprised you’ve managed to get somewhere you don’t realise what other paths have opened up, you need to think laterally and vertically at the same time.
This all gave me some serious WTF moments as I was wandering around. Puzzles and buttons open up different branching routes, and there’s an amount of to-ing and fro-ing to power doors from fragment to fragment.
Whilst the game itself is colourful and nicely balanced between objects and landscape, the rest of the game’s UI is lovely and clean, easy to navigate and minimal.
There is a map of the fragments which can be used to give an overall view of where you’ve been.
I was caught out momentarily until I noticed some graffiti indicating using the Y button my controller to zoom out. There are some multi-button puzzles which require some specific patterns, and using Y and then rotating the camera can give you visual cues to what pattern is required. This function also allows you to view the fragment almost in its entirety, giving you more hints as to how to get around and explore completely.
There are also other denizens of the fragments.
I encountered this charming gentleman, just before I confused him into falling into thin air.
Yes, I forgot to mention, if you walk off the edge, unless the face over the edge is parallel to the world’s normal gravity, you fall, losing health, and that’s indicated by stripping you of your paint, which you get to apply after the first fragment, along with other customisable features, such as eyes, ears etc. Too many falls, and that’s game over.
The game has a lovely charm and style which should engage players of any age, and it’s certainly a head scratcher at some points.
Youropa (Reviewed on Windows)
Outstanding. Why do you not have this game already?
This is a really neat game, well produced and thought out. Definitely a 10