Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
What happens if you take one of the waddling jelly people from Gang Beasts and drop it into a physics puzzler, set in surreal environments? Human Fall Flat [official site] happens. It’s a game about pulling levers, hopping across platforms and shunting crates around, but all of those things are made trickier and more interesting thanks to a control scheme that gives you control of individual limbs that are about as stiff as a plank of porridge.
Across its first four levels, which is as much as I’ve played, Human Fall Flat wobbles between hilarity and frustration. The areas aren’t as strange or imaginative as they appear to be on a surface level – a ghostly train station hovering in the void feels underused as an actual environment – and the actual objectives are always simpler than they appear to be.
When I found a little apartment building, with a TV and a window to chuck it through, I spent five minutes dismantling it, and having a blast. It doesn’t tie into the actual structure of the level though, it’s a distraction along the route rather than a part of the route. And that’s the issue I have with Human Fall Flat – it doesn’t manage to make the blunders and destruction that the physics engine allows a fundamental part of the game.
It’s a playground that doesn’t have enough toys, and what toys there are don’t always form part of the actual puzzles. Once I realised that learning to control the character properly was the key to the game, rather than combining that with clever use of the props, I realised I’d probably had my fill. But what a pleasure controlling that character is.