I always like to stay positive when it comes to reviews. This is because making a game is so very, very difficult (trust me, I know!) that I feel like a bit of an unappreciative grump when all I do is moan about said game I just got to play for free.
With this in mind, let me say that I Fell From Grace, from developer Deep Taiga, is unique. It’s brave in its decision to try something different with its writing style, has some very moody visuals and music that help the game have an overall oppressive and somewhat uneasy tone.
With the intro done, let me put my critical hat on. I Fell From Grace is really not much fun to play, has a writing style that is tiring to read and ineffective at producing an emotion other than frustration, and the game has a story that thinks it’s got a lot to say but ultimately fails to say much of anything at all.
At its most basic level, I Fell From Grace is an adventure game where you walk from left to right, from screen to screen, solving puzzles. It’s listed as a ‘point and click’ adventure, but the controls are more direct, as you control the main character (Henry). There’s not much to comment on when it comes to gameplay as all you do is move left and right, occasionally you’ll have to use an item from your inventory, make a dialogue choice and the rest of the time you’ll be pressing the ‘E’ button a whole lot to interact with everyone and everything.
I Fell From Grace Review – Falling At The First Hurdle
This wouldn’t be too bad if the game had interesting puzzles like you get in classic point and click adventures, but it doesn’t. All of the roadblocks are incredibly simplistic and unsatisfying to overcome. Something you need is stuck in a tree? Find a ladder and use the ladder. Need to see what’s happening on the other side of a vent? Find the camera and use the camera. There are no ‘Aha’ moments here so the ‘game’ itself is really not much fun to play.
The atmosphere is pretty great though. It’s always raining, everyone’s miserable, your boss is mean and heading into town means you’re greeted by homeless drug addicts huddled around flaming barrels outside failing businesses. This won’t be a setting that’s for everyone but for those of us that really appreciate a really downbeat vibe, I Fell From Grace has sorrow in spades.
The story itself appears as if it should be interesting enough and has a strong enough premise. Henry, who you play as works for some big pharmaceutical company and has a wife that is very ill. As with every character in the game, Henry and his wife are having some tough times and have dealt with some catastrophic moments in their past. I don’t want to spoil anything but let’s say that Henry and his wife suffer a tragic loss.
Henry has now become a workaholic and is determined to cure his wife, even to the detriment of actually, you know, being there for her and looking after her. It’s clear that he’s become obsessed and in his pursuit of ‘doing what’s right’ he might make some poor decisions and… fall from grace. *puts on shades*
Not Fooling Me
So what I’m saying is that this is a narrative driven game and instead of worrying about engaging puzzles, the developers have decided to focus all of their attention on telling a compelling narrative, right? Sadly, no. This is another area that I Fell From Grace fails in because the fact is that the story soon descends into meaninglessness.
What starts as a fairly engaging journey into one man’s descent into obsession is soon littered with pointless segues into events that have no bearing on the story or some which simply don’t resolve. It may be the case that playing the game over and over again could help you tie up some of these loose ends, but I’m not convinced this is the case having finished it twice. When a plot involves nightmarish warnings about ‘black spots on the ceiling’ only for you to have the credits roll without a single encounter with a ceiling-based black blotch, you have to wonder if there is any meaning behind the game’s words or actions. It all seems to think that it’s smarter than it actually is.
This is no more apparent than in the decision to make every. Single. Line. Of. Dialogue. Rhyme.
It’s hard to say why this was decided, what exactly this writing style was meant to evoke but all I can say is I grew tired of it within five minutes.
No Time To Rhyme
So I’m sorry to be such a downer on this game. As I said at the start, I really do want to enjoy the time I spend playing games and I do want to encourage developers to try new things and ultimately create great pieces of work that push the boundaries of what we think games are and can be. Sadly, I also have a duty to the game players who need to know that this is simply a failed attempt at something unique.
When reading the dialogue becomes such a chore,
it’s hard not to grow tired and start to snore.
The puzzles aren’t fun and they’re not very clever,
the same goes for the story as it’s not much better.
The graphics are nice and they help set the mood,
it’s a shame everything else just comes off as crude.
I commend you for trying something new, I Fall From Grace,
sadly you failed and fell flat on your face.