Review: Do Not Fall (PS3)

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Title:  Do Not Fall
Format: PlayStation Network Download (666 MB)
Release Date: July 23, 2013
Publisher: XPEC Entertainment
Developer: XPEC Entertainment
Original MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: E
Do Not Fall is exclusive to the PlayStation Network.

Gameplay:
The objective of Do Not Fall is to do just that:  not fall.  You start out playing as Pipi, a blue-haired rabbit-type creature that lives in a vending machine.  The world is purposefully silly and nonsensical but it happens to work in this title’s favor.  Each of the over 70 levels in this game will have a door that blocks the level’s goal.  The door will have a number above it, indicating the number of keys necessary to open that door.  It is up to Pipi and friends to traverse the level to collect the appropriate number of keys while avoiding disappearing floors, unforgiving enemies, and tricky platforms, all the while racing the clock.

The controls in Do Not Fall are very simple but this is definitely not an indication of the difficulty level of the game overall.  The left stick exclusively moves your character as I was a little disappointed that the D-pad could not be used.  X is to jump and Square is to dash and apart from some camera controls, that is the extent of the layout.  Early levels will ease players into the gameplay but by the time you’re halfway through, the difficulty is ramped up to controller-throwing levels.

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In addition to picking up keys to make it to the goal, there is a score of collectibles, challenges, and ranks to shoot for, adding hours upon hours of gameplay for those of you that need the 100% stat.  Only the first world is available at startup and you will need to collect a certain number of golden screws to unlock the 6 subsequent worlds.  Each world is characterized by a different drink (i.e. water, milk, pineapple juice) and each level has an optional challenge to complete.  Players can also collect bolts to unlock everything from new characters to cutscenes.

This game might feel very foreign at first because of the whimsical setting and undeniable Taiwanese influence.  The localization is a bit lazy with a slight mispronunciation of the few spoken words and many grammatical errors on the menu screens.

Visuals:
Although Do Not Fall runs in 1080p, it surprisingly does not look anywhere near as good as some other PSN titles that employ this sought after resolution.  Character close-ups can be a bit fuzzy and title screens are sloppily thrown together.

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The style is cartoony and informal as the gameplay visuals perpetuate this feeling.  While moving about the levels, the enemies, background décor, and environment layout are appealing in nature but they lack detail.

Audio:
Fitting in with the gameplay style and art direction, the audio in Do Not Fall is quirky and fanciful.  The background music compliments the feeling this game intends to create in the player.  The sound effects of your actions and enemy movements alike will keep players engaged and entertained as the levels are loaded over and over again.

Online/Multiplayer:
It was rumored that Do Not Fall was originally intended to be multiplayer focused but the single player mode became the core of the gameplay somewhere along the development cycle.  This priority shift has not seemed to detract from the multiplayer experience however, as the mini-game style is done well.

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Up to four players, either locally or online, can compete in goal based games like soccer or point-total games like Do Not Fall’s version of Kill the Carrier.  Much like Mario Party or the Rabbids games on Wii, these party style mini-games offer simple rules and objectives while demanding a necessary level of skill to succeed.  The downfall here is that there is an extremely limited variety.

Conclusion:
Do Not Fall is a budget PSN title that can offer hours of entertainment for one or more players and there is something to be said about the ingenious level design and clear passion behind the project.  Even though there are tons of levels to play, impossible challenges to complete, and a wealth of collectables to search for, the game feels as though it was created in the image of the best and most popular mobile titles available to us. 

If not for the tremendous scope, decent multiplayer, and tight controls, this game could be optimized for phone or tablet.  If you’re a casual gamer that is looking to take the mobile experience to the next level, Do Not Fall may be for you.  But for the PSN gurus out there, you’ve had 10 dollar content with much more depth and substance.

Score:
6.5

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