by Matthijs Knebel
previewed on PC
A warrior named Nyx
Fall of Light, a story-driven dungeon crawler created by Rune Heads, you take the play as an old warrior named Nyx. Nyx needs to escort his daughter to the last ray of sunlight which is no easy task. You’ll be confronted by all sorts of obstacles like trapdoors, puzzles, boss fights and much, much more before you reach your destination.
What struck me most is Fall of Light’s combat system – it’s fantastic. The developers have tried to make something similar to combat in Dark Souls and they hit the nail right on the head. Planning your attacks, dodges and defensive moves carefully is crucial if you want to survive. In many other Action RPG’s you can get away with using a single weapon to win a fight - just go all in and you will be fine. In Fall of Light you will need to switch between your primary weapon and your shield all the time. You’ll also need to carefully keep track of the characteristics of each weapon that you equip, as well as the ones brought against you. Fighting is made a little easier when Nyx’s daughter is nearby though. Her presence comes with a little buff that makes Nyx’s attacks stronger.
I did keep wondering why the enemy always focused their attacks on Nyx. The daughter will be left totally unharmed unless Nyx dies. Would it not be logical that the enemy tries to attack the daughter? It would add a nice additional layer to the game’s combat, protecting the daughter or staying between her and any assailants.
I had a few odd experiences when I left the starting area. The first thing I found was a shield and shortly after the path in front of me split up into two directions. I saw an enemy to the right and tried to attack him. Not a smart move - I needed a weapon but only had the shield. I died. Where was the sword? Something else I noticed, is that after Nyx died, he was suddenly alive again and trying to revive his daughter, but… who revived him?
I’m sure spending more time with the game would yield some explanations but this was a Gamescom appointment with limited time. I left Nyx’s daughter for dead, went back to the T-junction and went the other way. After a short walk I came across a witch sitting next to her kettle. She started talking to me in a short cutscene which did not involve any answers so I ventured further and found a savepoint… which I could not use. Savepoints can only be used when Nyx and his daughter are together. Check. I ignored the save spot and continued walking and, low and behold, I finally found a sword! A backtracked, killed all the enemies, revived the daughter and saved the game. All solved.
I should mention that Fall of Light is very true to its name. You need to pay attention where you walk and fight because if you step off the path into the dark, you’ll fall right off. I liked this a lot as it made the game a little more challenging.
A good lack of detail
I started playing Fall of Light with a keyboard but I have to say the controls felt a bit awkward. It feels as if you need almost the entire keyboard to play the game, plus the mouse to attack and defend. The WASD keys are used to walk but the - right - SHIFT is required to hold the daughter’s hand. It’s a good thing that you don’t need to hold her hand while fighting. After a short period of struggling with the keyboard I grabbed the Xbox controller and that was just way better as it made the controls feel like that of any other dungeon crawler on console.
Fall of Light is not highly detailed, but in this case that actually adds something to the game. There is kind of a calm atmosphere between the combat scenes and a warm, immersive vibe despite the slightly oppressive setting. It’s hard to explain, I guess you had to be there – and you can only a few short months from now.