- Unique idea fairly well executed
- Each world presents new obstacles
- Plenty of unlockable upgrades and characters
- Bit of a one-trick pony
- Simply beating the levels is a bit too easy
Never before has the title of a game been so bluntly descriptive of what it entails. The main goal of Do Not Fall is to simply not fall, hopping from platform to platform and ensuring that gravity doesn’t get the better of you. And to be honest, the simple name suits what is a very simple game. It’s based solely around the one, platform-hopping mechanic, a trick that it pulls off relatively well without too many thrills along the way.
It’s premise is simple yet utterly bonkers. Visually it’s a cutesy platformer that looks like it was designed for 8-year olds, featuring a little rabbit who’s trying to put together a bunch of drinks in a vending machine. Each drink in the vending machine serves as a set of 10 levels, each with it’s own theme. For example, Milk has a distinct farmyard setting, Marshmallow Chocolate is set up in the clouds, and if you can’t work out what Shaved Ice consists of then you’re clearly missing the point. Each world presents its own obstacles, and your goal is always to get the drink “ingredient” at the end.
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than simple point-to-point jumping. Squares that you step foot on disintegrate within just a few seconds, therefore some pretty nifty footwork is needed on the fly to avoid a nasty skydive. Admittedly they do respawn after a short period of time, but unless you’ve got a giant cluster of squares in close proximity to navigate around, the chances of you getting back before a fall are slim. Combine that with a timer set at just two minutes, and you have little time to dwindle.
It’s more than a simple A-to-B fare too. The end-level gates are locked up by one or more keys, scattered around the level with your job being to track them all down. They’re never hard to find and most often fall directly in your path, there were only a couple of times where I got to the end of the level and was missing the necessary.
Level progression is handled rather well, with the seven distinct themes all having their own quirks. While the core gameplay remains identical, different enemies plague each stage. Initially you’re only faced with learning the patterns of rolling spike balls, but you’re soon forced into dodging giant rocking horses, sidestepping charging bulls, and jumping out of the path of the game’s most annoyingly-unpredictable enemy, the eagle. Combine that with moving platforms, disappearing rain clouds and wind that alters your jump patterns, and there are quite a lot of novel little features going.
Despite this, simply completing the core game feels a bit easy. Keys are never a chore to track down, and you can cut out entire chunks of some levels with a clever use of the Dash ability, making the 2 minute timer seem, if anything, generous. Thankfully there’s a lot more to it for those looking to play beyond the minimum requirement, with the real challenge coming from achieving S Ranks and beating all the challenges.
Obtaining the S Ranks on each and every level is actually pretty difficult. Speed is the most important element, but without any Screws (they give points and also act as the game’s currency to buy unlockables) or Gold Bolts (used to unlock later levels) you probably still won’t get the top grade. Learning enemy patterns is crucial, and even then you’ll need a huge slice of luck in later levels. The Challenges are decidedly less difficult, but at least encourage different approaches to each level. Beat a set amount in any stage and you’ll unlock a Special level, a tightly-timed bonus map where you won’t get even a second to breathe.
Do Not Fall is a basic yet fun platformer that ticks all the right boxes but doesn’t really go far beyond that. Despite being a bit of a one-trick pony, there’s enough variation in the stages to keep you interested until the end. Replayability goes about as far as doing the same things but a bit faster, so whether or not you stick around once you’ve filled the vending machine will depend almost entirely on that. It’s a unique idea that’s reasonably well executed with tight controls and well-constructed level design, and if you’re looking for something a bit different then you could do a hell of a lot worse.