Falling 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."