“Cheap little rhymes, a cheap little tune, are sometimes as dangerous, as a sliver of the moon.” – Langston Hughes
Developer: Deep Taiga
Released: December 2017
Available on: Steam
I got off to a slow start with I fell from Grace, thinking the game menu was bugged when I couldn’t select a new game with return or space, I restarted it a couple of times before eventually realising I actually needed to press E! Either way I decided to play with a controller which worked fine but I personally would have liked the option to use the joystick for movement rather than the D-Pad.
The game is a less than cheerful, side scrolling, point-and-click adventure game. It starts with the protagonist, Henry, waking up on the sofa and we quickly learn that he is supporting his terminally ill wife, Grace, by working at a medical research facility of a vague description. Home, work and a downtown area make up the game’s three playable zones which I explored extensively running back and forth to complete various tasks. The puzzles were challenging at times, unfortunately sometimes this was due to a lack of instruction or logic, which resulted in mindless button bashing trying to use or combine items. They were also a little convoluted at times, with the puzzle lines reaching too far from the initial objective making it difficult to keep track of tasks and distracting from the narrative.
The game was visually very pleasing and features some lovely pixel art with a good level of detail making it one of my favourite aspects of I Fell from Grace. Each area had its own distinct aesthetic whilst successfully maintaining its relationship with the rest of the game through a well-defined colour palette consisting largely of greys, purples and other slightly muted tones. The soundtrack fits well with the style and tone of the game, especially in the downtown area which had a film noir feel to it. I did find that some of the music got a bit repetitive but I did have an especially long play through thanks in part to my inability to think logically (or at all) when gaming at 6am!
The game follows a dark narrative and I found myself questioning the morals of my character as he had an affair, stole from an old lady and generally acted narcissistically throughout. I only managed one play through in my almost 20 hours of game time (twice the suggested time needed) and I know that there are different story arcs and endings to be discovered, I also understand these to be equally bleak experiences for the most part. The game explores some mature themes such as death, sex, and drugs, amongst others. There was also quite a lot of mature language, whilst this felt gratuitous on occasion it was generally in line with the sinister nature of the storyline, which I enjoyed.
I Fell from Grace’s unique selling point (USP) was meant to be the dialogue. With the exception of small snippets in a ‘dream state’, all the in-game speech was originally written in rhyme. I loved the sound of this, I actually thought it was a really interesting concept and was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a reason behind it and that was actually part of the plot. However, the execution could have been better (to say the least). The meter was often off and superfluous information along with inverted sentences made the rhymes feel forced.
I am sure the sheer quantity of rhymes that needed to be written played a part in but unfortunately, I felt it also hindered the characterisation. Henry is the only character that is given any real personality and his superficial and selfish traits soon become apparent. I would have liked to see different structures or rhyme schemes for different characters’ speech as most of the dialogue was delivered in couplets with a single syllable AA rhyme scheme detracting from any sense of distinct voices. Whilst I enjoyed some of the rhymes I wonder if it really added to the game or if I would have preferred the game with straightforward prose.
Evidently, my views on the rhyming dialogue were not unique as in May 2018 Deep Taiga released an update, which they summarised with the following:
“Today an update has just gone out that addresses the possibly most requested feature for IFFG – the ability to turn off the rhyming dialogue and instead play the game with normal dialogue.”
Whilst I definitely think there are elements of I Fell from Grace that could have been done differently or better I still enjoyed the experience. The original format of the dialogue may not be to everyone’s tastes but I commend Deep Taiga’s response to the feedback and for undertaking what must have been a sizeable update to the game. The game has replay value, allowing the player to make different choices and take different routes through the game, discovering new plot twists and endings. Overall, I Fell from Grace has an interesting story, challenging puzzles; it also looks great and I’d happily recommend it to fans of the point-and-click genre.
I Fell from Grace is 90% off in the Steam Summer Sale and is only £0.57 until 9th July 2019!!