Not all is well in the realm of Numbra. The land of perpetual night has seemingly lost a hefty share of its inhabitants, the nomadic tribe of Kamloops who had found shelter in this dark realm for years. It is through this cryptic premise that you're introduced to the avatar, a diminutive being of shadow with two contrasting sparkling stars for eyes. You've been blessed with unparalleled agility and soon the guiding voice of an unassuming narrator begins to describe your journey...
There's a real joy in controlling this diminutive shadow in Light Fall. You can run by holding 'RZ' and jump with the trusty 'B' button. You can hang and slide down cliff edges, assuming they are not covered with green slime. This is where the classic platforming controls end since you are also able to summon a square block out of thin air and a big chunk of the game is designed on how you can manipulate this summon block to tackle stage obstacles.
The first use of the block is one that will quickly become second nature as you scour upon the vast plains of Numbra is use it as a makeshift platform. Tapping 'B' while already mid-air will summon the block beneath your feet and you are able to do this up to five times before needing to put your feet in proper ground. Pressing 'A' allows you to summon the block in front of you to act as a shield, even allowing you to move along with it towards danger. Hitting ‘X’ will summon the block and allow you to move it anywhere on the screen until you press ‘X’ once again to set it in the place of your choosing.
Not only you can use this function to scout ahead but also to set the block inside several contraptions such as wheels or even a boat that you can rotate left or right using ‘Y’ and ‘A’ respectively. One hit kills do mean you are quite vulnerable to all sort of hazards like the crystals spreading like an infection across land but you do get to fend off enemies using ‘Y’ to throw the block as a short range weapon. A very versatile gameplay gimmick indeed.
Apart from the introductory levels the game is set into three acts, each divided into several levels with a rather huge and memorable boss fight at the end of each act. Checkpoints are generously spread just before every difficult bit, so dying will only penalise you with a few screens trek back to the place you previously perished. Straying far from your regular path using your abilities will usually lead you to secret areas that will demand equal parts puzzle solving and platforming skills. Unlike pink crystals, yellow crystals hold your memories and must be broken and taken back to a checkpoint to both store and unveil the events from the past that lead to the current situation in Numbra. After you are done with the main journey, you can revisit all acts to seek out every single memory in case you missed them, and there's even a ‘Speedrun’ option for those who wish to purely test their mastery of the little avatar’s abilities.
As you might expect from the subject, the graphics often play with darkness and shadows, giving the game a rather macabre look that contrasts with the subtle use of light. Every bit of land you can walk upon is actually a shadow, making the backgrounds that despite simple look absolutely stunning because they are the game’s major source of light and colour in the whole voyage. While offering a distinct visual style it also creates a very unique, eerie mood that's complemented by the fantastic soundtrack that would best be described a ‘dreamy’ and ‘ethereal’.
A word of caution that should by now become a de facto quirk of this kind of games: there will be stuck points in your adventure. It is true that the level of difficulty never quite gets quite as high as Celeste, but your endurance to having to repeat an entire section over and over again until you perfectly perform the actions needs to clear the hurdle may be an issue for some. Be warned that your patience will be tested from time to time, but it is ultimately up to each individual player to decide if that is truly a bad point in an overall excellent package.
Light Fall swiftly finds a spot among all the other Switch hardcore 2D platforming greats by offering not only a quality game wrapped in a beautifully unique atmosphere, but by successfully providing the player with a plot and characters that are worth investing, making the game very hard to set aside until you complete the tiny shadow-being quest. We found very little to complain about the whole package and as such have very little reserve in recommending you add yet another fantastic platform adventure to the growing list of titles already available on Switch.