Human Fall Flat – Preview

Title   Human Fall Flat
Developer  No Brakes Games
Publisher  No Brakes Games
Platform  Windows PC
Genre  Puzzle, Simulation
Release Date  Q2 2016
Official Site

humanfallflatpre1I’ve played some strange games over the past twenty years but Human Fall Flat, the cute creation from the minds at No Brakes Games, certainly enters high on the list of ‘just what the hell is going on here?’ Human Falls Flat finds players controlling builder Bob, a sort of squishy, indestructible little fella, who reminds me of a cross between one of the chaps from Gang Beasts and Douglas the young gentlemen from the Lurpak adverts. The game finds Bob in a sort of dream world, where players guide him through a variety of levels in order to ‘fall’ to the next one. Falling off the edge of the world prior to this, will result in players smashing back into the same earth they just fell from; a sort of perverse gravity-based penrose steps, if you will.

Moving Bob around and getting him to interact with the environment is surprisingly intuitive and fun. The game seems pretty sparse on the face of it, but guiding Bob around is quick and easy, with different tasks and interactions providing a nice learning curve for understanding how the world works. You can, generally speaking, take the puzzles and worlds before you as quickly or as slowly as you want. Time limits or challenges would only serve to frustrate as players desperately try and get Bob to grab very small objects with his pudgy white hands. While Bob is a joy to handle, I would love for him to be just a little more loose, just so that he could fly around the levels with more abandon. Right now, he just feels like the wrong side of rigid, and having him be a little more pliable would be more in keeping with the tone. I’d also like to see him move just a fraction faster, so that I didn’t have to wait so long for him to get places – a minor quibble at best.


One thing that No Brakes Games have nailed is the level design and reward for exploration. It’s very rare that I’ll stray from an area without fully exploring it first, but here I just wanted to learn more about the world I had literally been dropped into. Each level is but a tiny piece of the overall picture and, because of that, having a look around doesn’t feel like a massive chore. One early level saw me exploring a tunnel underneath a train that crashed through the building’s wall. Using my honed climbing skills (read: dry humping a wall until I managed to fall through the window) I emerged on the other side of the train into previously unseen area. I’d only been able to access the tunnel by manually clearing rubble, brick by brick, but the payoff was that I’d found a new area. Given the focus involved in having to do all the manual labor, I’m glad it wasn’t a ruse or misdirection.

humanfallflatpre3Some of the early puzzles are very simple in one respect but massively challenging in another due to the physics and mechanics of the world. One example of this is in picking up a plank of wood in order to traverse various gaps in the landscape. This ‘puzzle’ in itself is very straightforward because the plank of wood is presented to you just prior to a gap that is far too big to cross. The challenge, though, is picking up the plank of wood and getting it across the terrain without either falling off yourself or dropping your vital bit of kit to the floor below. I’m hoping that as the game progresses, the puzzle element becomes more challenging, rather than the challenge being purely on controlling Bob.

Human Fall Flat, as it stands, manages to expertly straddle the line between fun and frustrating. Games like this threaten to become tedious and annoying because of the physics and control. Thanks in part to Bob’s look and movement and partly to the more relaxed nature of the game, accidents, mistakes and generally having a poke around at the world all fall into the ‘fun’ category. Frustration is avoided by some handy tutorial videos which handle new skills and understanding what is going on, as well as handy pop-up boxes should you spend too long in one area.


The only parts that are currently lacking for Human Fall Flat are the sound and possibly the graphics. It’s not that the game looks bad, it’s just a little sparse in places, however this is possibly due to only seeing a fraction of the early levels. The sound though – or lack thereof – is quite disappointing. I’m well aware of the pitfalls of having jaunty jingle number five on in the background with games such as this, and puzzle games generally don’t have to have music but there was quite literally no noise in the background at all. Aside from the occasional bit of chat from the tutorial voice, the game was played in silence and I think that as this game has some personality, having no sound misses the opportunity to build on that.

That concern aside, though, Human Fall Flat has all the promise of a different sort of puzzle game that could find a dedicated community in the same way that games such as Goat Simulator have, because while it is a little outside the norm it is equally plenty of fun regardless of that fact.

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