Loveable physics fun-fest Human: Fall Flat took the hearts of content creators by offering flaccid limbs, and puzzling worlds. It grew in popularity when the PC version introduced online multiplayer allowing friends to have a right laugh from the comfort of home. Now it’s the turn of the consoles, but so far it seems a bit touchy.
No Brakes Games’ 2016 Human: Fall Flat has probably crossed your radar at some point, whether it’s from a review, general chatter, or seeing a content creator playing it. It’s well known for its floppy bodies and sticky fingers that are used to make solving puzzles in the level a touch more difficult. The addition of having more players results in hilarious slapstick moments.
I’ve played the PC’s single-player only version when I tried it out on Utomik. I’ve then watched streams of groups of people scrambling around one another, having a laugh. Understandably, I was excited to jump into the Xbox One version and test out the newly launched online play that arrived on the 30th August 2018.
A quick run-down on what the game actually is first.
You’re set to various levels with areas that consist of puzzles that need completing in order to progress along the linear setting. Puzzles can range from simply activating a button, to having to transport a giant hook to the top of a house to zipline to a castle. The harder challenges are where having helping hands comes in useful.
I wanted new levels, fresh laughs, more ways to pass a puzzle.
You’re also allowed to customise your character, choosing from a selection of costumes that are broken up into the head, upper body, and lower body. The colouring style feels limited on consoles, with PC users being able to doodle on their faces with paint, but console users are left with layer-based colours.
Once a character is sorted, you can jump into the online world with up to eight players and either join a server or host one. Annoyingly there’s no way to join or host an online server while playing local at the same time. This hugely restricts Human: Fall Flat for those who want to join friends on the couch and go online. There is also no cross-platform play which would have been a wonderful addition.
Human: Fall Flat is a great single-player title with a challenging performance on controls that feel easy to learn but odd to master.
My experience online wasn’t entirely pleasant. The first night I joined four different servers in a row, and each one greeted me with players either constantly throwing me off the edge, or humping my face. Eventually, I found some servers with players who were actually playing, but the second I made a mistake or fumbled I got kicked —I assume— by the host.
Players are able to communicate with one another using voice communications, but there’s no chat box or emotes to bridge that gap for those who lack voice communications. It would probably be worth implementing nametags in Human: Fall Flat as quite often I found myself losing the players behind structures and walls. Although this does go against the lack of HUD style that the game focuses on. It’s a needed feature I feel.
All of this online nonsense was of course after I had struggled to find a server in the awful looking server area. A list of servers is shown, but a large majority of them appear to be servers that players created, then shut down, but they’re still showing up. The only way I was able to join servers was by scrolling down for a while and randomly selecting one and hoping it was joinable.
The game freezes when connection issues arise, and when you’re kicked from the server. The former doesn’t happen that often which is great, but there seems to be no real indication that something’s happened. I sat frozen for two minutes —camera and menus still worked though— after getting kicked out of a server for dropping a barrel.
So while the idea of Human: Fall Flat’s online feature is incredible, playing with strangers ruins the experience. You’re best off getting the game with friends on the same platform following suit, and then playing online with them to get maximum enjoyment. It may not be required, but I’d certainly recommend voice communications. There’s something weird about trying to get someone to understand what to do while unable to speak to them.
I joined four different servers in a row, and each one greeted me with players either constantly throwing me off the edge, or humping my face.
There’s also the issue with replayability. Every level has its funny moments but once the last level is completed, you’re made to do it all again. It’s incredibly unrewarding and going through it once more seems to kill the magic of solving puzzles. Mainly due to the fact you know how to solve them because you’ve done it already. I wanted new levels, fresh laughs, more ways to pass a puzzle.
Human: Fall Flat is a great single-player title with a challenging performance on controls that feel easy to learn but odd to master. Local play is great fun, and playing online can be a right laugh. Sadly the griefing strangers that populate the servers, and the ones who kick you as you join make trawling back through the server list a bit off-putting.
Developer: No Brakes Games
Publisher: Curve Digital
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
An Xbox One code was provided to complete this review