Some games have “global megahit” written all over them from the moment they drop, and Falls is a perfect example.
Developed by Canadian startup Ennface, Falls is an ingenious twist on those sliding tile puzzle games you’ve been playing in one form or another since you first learned how to hold things.
It sees you sliding blocks of earth around on a series of 250 gorgeously rendered 3D floating islands, with the aim of lining up channels so that water can flow through them and pour out into a pond below.
The game’s island stages are spread across five worlds, all with their own unique aesthetics and mechanics. In some you’ll solve puzzles against the clock. In others you’ll have to solve puzzles within a certain number of moves. Others will let you kick back and take things at your own pace.
But that’s not all. There are optional goals in most stages, as well as special items that you can collect and craft into power-ups, making for an experience that’s richer than you might have thought would be possible in a sliding tile game.
Here are the five reasons that we think Falls will become your next mobile gaming obsession.
Falls is straight up gorgeous. Just look at the screenshots. We’ve learned not to expect from the sliding tile genre, given that it’s as old as time, but Ennface has brought the concept into the era of Monument Valley and Fez.
From the serene, slickly animated spinnable 3D islands to the adorable characters and the intuitive user-interface, Falls is an object lesson in outstanding design. It’s no surprise that the studio’s slogan is “game is aesthetics”.
The hardest challenge when putting a puzzle game together is to make sure that everybody can get something out of it, from pre-schoolers to college professors.
Falls pulls off that feat with aplomb, taking a format that every kid understands and lacing it with all sorts of optional goals and conditions to increase the difficulty for more experienced players.
It Trains Your Brain
Ever since Dr Kawashima burst onto the scene with his crowd-pleasing insights about the health benefits of puzzle games, we’ve all known that spending some quality time with a noodle-scratcher is a great way to keep your brain on top form.
But let’s face it: you’re tired of sudoku. You can’t be bothered to take on another crossword, or start a new round of Scrabble. Those games are played out. They’re basic. Falls, on the other hand, is exciting, challenging, and different.
Innovative Crafting System
One of the things that makes Falls different from other sliding tile puzzlers is its unique crafting system, which lets you direct water towards chests, claim the contents, and then craft these items into power-ups.
This cleverly gives you an incentive to make life slightly more difficult for yourself in an effort to make life easier later on, and it gives you options when it comes to deciding exactly how you want to make your life easier too.
Compete With Just Yourself
Leaderboards are often held up as a selling point of a game, on the assumption that we’re all desperate to compete with our fellow players and show them all how clever we are.
And sometimes we are. But sometimes we want to just retreat to a calm, meditative place where we can play without the distraction of knowing how our “rivals” are doing. Falls dispenses with leaderboards, and we are fully on board with that.
Story mode simply sees you compete with yourself. The Harvest option currently lets you play through levels you’ve already completed, harvesting plants – but we’re told it will let you compete with others in the near future, if you desire to. Stay tuned.