Falling Forever


| Comments (36) | Views (7)

PsychotronicFalling ForeverFalling Forever is a simple game of survival by highly motivated new game developer Pixelante. You can tell Pixelante is highly motivated because he says so, repeatedly, in his hilariously bitter and egotistical diary/mission statement at Pixelante Game Studios. It's hard to get noticed at a crowded house party like the casual game industry, but sometimes the solution is to be the loudest guy in the pool.

Anyhoo, it turns out that his inaugural Flash game is pretty good. In Falling Forever, you control an unlucky black silhouette of a fellow who gets dropped through a trap door into a tall empty room. Empty, that is, except for the DEADLY LASER stretching across the floor. Your job is to stay alive as long as possible by launching yourself off the convenient but fragile bubbles rising through the room. Steer yourself using the [arrow keys], and press [up] to jump from the surface of a bubble. Press [down] if you feel the need to approach your death faster. The [WASD] keys serve the same purpose as the arrow keys.

The trick to getting altitude is timing. When you make contact with a bubble, a white circle will start to shrink from the outside of the bubble to the center. The smaller the circle is when you press jump, the further your jump will propel you, but be careful not to wait too long, or the bubble will pop and drop you like a stone. A grade will appear to tell you how accurate your timing is; a high percentage of perfect jumps (hit the button right before the circle completely disappears) will help your score in the end.

Analysis: Falling Forever attacks your pleasure centers on two fronts. Firstly, the gameplay has more depth than you'd expect. You can jump at different angles depending on where you touch a bubble, and while most of the time you'll want to head straight up as far as possible, there are times when you need to hit a bubble from the side and fling yourself laterally. The algorithm driving the bubbles keeps a delicate balance between chance and skill, so you will die often, but always with a feeling that you could have prevented it.

Secondly, in what is becoming a tradition for Mad Scientists Observing Test Subjects (see Portal and Shift 2), the game taunts you with a seemingly endless supply of trash talk and laser puns. It's hard to concentrate on the jokes at first, or even notice them down there at the bottom of the screen, but this is some of the sharpest stand-up material I've seen in a Flash game. It might have been better to have voice work, rather than distracting you with written text, but then distracting you is kind of the point. The writing may be good enough to keep you playing even if the basic gameplay doesn't grab you.

I can't say that Falling Forever has a lot of longevity. Your death is inevitable, and nothing evolves or changes from the first drop to the final burn. If you're not into high scores or the game's somewhat geeky, nihilistic style of humor, then there's not much here for you. Also, the choice of background music strikes me as odd. I'm not saying it should have been something really aggressive, and it's a nice piece, but it doesn't quite match the tense situation. The frightening sizzle of the laser when you get close to it, on the other hand, is a nice touch.

To sum up: this is a unique, addictive distraction with plenty of character; a fine addition to the Sadistic Mad Scientist genre. It had me at "I find your explosion to be satisfactory."

Play Falling Forever

36 Comments

I like the no-frills graphics style, but little else. No addiction for me here, mainly because I mostly can't jump up from a bubble; instead, I usually just drop down when the bubble bursts.

Ow... no fair! The trapdoor you fell in through is as deadly as the laser at the bottom!

Okay, I'll read the instructions first next time.

I've only managed to successfully jump once. I hit the up key, I hold the up key, I mash the up key frantically... and my guy sits there until the bubble pops.

I had the same experience as Groogokk here. I kept falling down and the jump button never seemed to do much of anything. Until, of course, I read the review more thoroughly. Small games like this should be as intuitive as possible, and the shrinking circle in the bubble is not intuitively associated with big jumps. Maybe this game should have a tiny (one or two lines) manual in it.

Other than that, it's fun enough to play around with. The physics feel a little sluggish, but you get used to that and it works well. And it has catchy music.

LS - are you using the [W] key for UP?

(hint: the game does not use the arrow keys)

Nice graphics and a simple concept. Seriously flawed by the clunky unresponsive movement/jumping though! A little more effort to get that right and it would be a good little game.

Actually, the game uses the arrows and ASDW both.

Oops. my bad. I see now that it does. xD

Carry on. :)

How can you stop the thing when if you press the up arrow button, you scroll up?


[Edit: Clicking on the game window should give keyboard focus to the Flash game. If it does not, then your browser/settings may be the culprit. -Jay]

If you cannot jump, that's because you press the UP button too soon.

Wait JUST before the bubble bursts before you try to jump, you'll be amazed.

The sarcastic omnipotent voice reminded me a lot of GLaDOS from Portal. XD The gameplay took some getting used to, but it got addicting pretty soon.

Not really enjoyable after the first minute or two.

cluncky, jerky frame rate - check
nonresponsive behavior - check
"up"jumps that keep you at roughly the same elevation that you are currently at - check
game loses all appeal after 45 seconds - check

maybe a frame rate better than 5 frames/sec would make this more playable. sure my computer if 4 years old, but games should not be unplayable on slightly older computers.

The story, as I perceive from the narrative:
-you go somewhere for a free t-shirt, as well as a few others.
-you get drugged
-you are tossed in, one by one, into the laser room.

Pretty good game, but loses appeal quickly. My max was 120 seconds and about 2900 points.

I like the wall slide :)

It took a little while to get used to it, but it was pretty fun.

Nice to see new developers :)

I am so sick of GlaDOS ripoffs. Shift was, at the very least, an interesting game, despite the oh-so not very hilarious and yet so familiar evil computer. This is just uninspired.

My window also scrolled when I jumped. All other games work but this one is just being retarded. It makes it really hard to read the funny remarks when you are constantly scrolling down with your mouse after each jump.

Can't get keyboard focus, even after clicking/reloading/restarting browser. Mouse works though. This has never happened to me before.

Update: got it working in IE but still not in Firefox. Who knows/cares what the problem is. Would have played longer if the framerate was less shoddy.

Huh. The framerate is a little jerky here, and my computer is new and not lacking in resources. I blame the code. Also, I am running in Firefox and have a different focus problem: sure my arrow keys get sent to the right place, but the game seems to so thoroughly steal focus that I can't change to a different browser tab. I click the other tab and nothing happens. The only thing that works is minimizing the whole browser, then when I bring it back up, there's the Jay page I was trying to change to. Very weird. I blame the code. And I guess I just haven't yet become a fan of the infinite fall/infinite jump up games.

Its weird how the game with so little going on manages to perform so badly. There isnt too many bubbles to justify framerate, I mean I have done collisions between hundreds of circles with better result.

Reading the review was more fun then playing the game :)

It's way too laggy, and then for such a simple game. The programming needs some tuning.

The controls are not very responsive.

The graphics is nice though and the idea is nice. But it's not really playable as it is.

And it would be great if jayisgaming would start using normal links for the games, instead of opening them with java in a window with no menu bars or anything. That's just annoying.

1.6 megs is also a little too big for such a simple game

So far the game has not worked for me on Firefox, nor on Opera.

It worked on IE however.

Ouch...looks like this game doesn't have any huge supporters yet so I guess it's up to me. Personally I had a blast with this game. The mechanics are pretty easy to learn and once you've got them down the game can be a lot of fun for those who like high score games.

It's basically just a test of survival. How long can you last? This question was plenty compelling enough to keep me coming back for more and I especially enjoyed how despite the simplicity of the game there is a little depth added by the importance of timing your jump. The game rewards you for NOT pounding down the jump key over and over again with no thought.

Now, all this said everyone who has complained about performance issues (framerate is what I noticed) has valid complaints. For me the quality of the gameplay overcame this factor--but clearly not everyone is on the same page. I will note that I played the game in Firefox and had none of the 'focus' issues that some are complaining about. Not sure what's going on there.

I'm with the majority of posters -- even if I give it a minute or two to load, the game still jerks around, and I'm treated to seeing the guy in the trapdoor, absolutely no movement or control, then I hear him hit the laser before the game end message comes up.

Not much fun to play a game where you don't even have a chance to play.

I too had focus issues with FF, but after three or four tries the scrollbar magically decided to stay in place. That's never happened to me before, so I don't think my browser settings are entirely the culprit.

While the gameplay was entertaining once I got used to the timing, the controls were just unresponsive enough to be annoying. The window you have to jump is really small, so one non-responsive keystroke can be fatal. I'm sure it's quite addicting on fast computers, but I'm stuck with something a few years old.

Lizard: I'm running it on a Quadcore clocked at 3.4ghz with an 8800GT and 4gb of ram on a clean XP installation, the performance isn't any better on my computer than it is on the ~8 year old early pentium 4 behind me.

I don't know what everyone's complaining about. The game works perfectly fine for me. I just broke 4,500 points.

Well, the game was ok. It was an interesting idea. It got old very quickly though. If you time your jumps right you get to the top of the room in no time. Then what, hit the ceiling? Die in the laser beam where you fall in? Sadly, I think it took longer to read the review than to get tired of the game. Is that bad?

I didn't enjoy it too much, sadly. It was unresponsive and the humor wasn't Portal, that's for sure. Maybe if it were presented in a different way and was a bit smoother, it would be more fun.

my favorite part about this game is that whether you use the arrow keys or the letter keys, the page scrolls down and half the game screen scrolls along with it and i can't see my guy. i played this game for all of 40 seconds.

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