One of the great things about games is how they can bring people together. The ability to sit down with friends and fight towards a common goal, or even battle against each other is a powerful thing. Many multiplayer games that are released now focus on just online play, but there is a lot to be said about couch co-op. Polycrunch Games has released Falling Out, a game that you can play solo, against a friend, or in cooperative mode.
You play as a couple that has long settled into their routine life, and the wife yearns for a time when they were more adventurous. In a perfectly timed plot point, they win a sweepstakes for a vacation to Egypt, where they just happened to have spent their honeymoon. But of course nothing goes to plan and it is up to this couple, Georgio and Felicie, battle through randomly generated levels and defeat the ancient curse.
Game play is simple, work your way through each of the areas, beat the boss then move to the next area. There are 4 pyramids in total, each with 4 randomly generated levels and a boss. Along your adventure you can pick up blueprints for weapons you can craft in between stages, except before the boss, and other items that can be used in battle. Even though the objective is simple, the execution is not. If you play single player, you have to move both members of the couple through the level. This is accomplished by carrying, throwing, or just plain old dragging your spouse along. If you have to jump to a high platform, you can leave them below, wall jump up and then lower a rope for them to climb up. This is about the extent the AI will help in your quest.
You can’t just leave them at the start because there is no split screen. If you get to far away you’re your spouse, you can’t see what either avatar is doing. Also, if your spouse dies it counts as a death and you must restart the level. So, the most efficient way to play is to just carry the character you are not playing as. Unfortunately, this is also the only real strategy to beat the game in multiplayer. Even trying to move together can get difficult with some of the enemies and traps as you end up hitting your teammate with the projectiles meant for enemies.
The VS mode is a fun edition to the game, which proves that split screen can work. There are 2 different Vs modes, Loot and Find Your Partner. In Loot, you have to gain more treasure than your opponent before you exit the pyramid. The trick is that the 1st person to exit triggers a flood that will make the stragglers exit more difficult. Find your Partner starts both players at the bottom of the pyramid and the 1st to find their partner and make it to the exit wins. These modes show what the co-op could have been.
The game also has a few bugs in it. You can start a level right on top of an enemy, and if you are low enough health, die immediately. Several items have strings of characters that were obviously meant to be replaced with names but never were. And the most frustrating one that I have found on multiple occasions is when you use dynamite on certain enemies the game will crash. It will pop up a screen of code saying that there is no sprite for the dead enemy. Once you clear this screen you will be sent back to the home screen. I have also experienced similar crashes while playing Vs mode. It makes it difficult to have fun when there are crashes every other series of games.
Falling Out is available on PC, Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo Switch. With a price tag of about $15, it will not break the bank. It is a fun game when it works, but the random crashes really detract from game play. There are some glimmering parts of the game, but unfortunately, they don’t all make it into the same game mode. Hopefully the crashes will be fixed in a future update, but for now it makes for an unenjoyable game.