A Fold Apart, Pixar level cute – First Sip Review
A Fold Apart developed and published by Lightning Rod Games is a mixture of narrative and puzzle games. The game marks Lightning Rod Games’ first entry on Steam as either developers or publishers. But as a debut title how well does it perform? Read on to find out.
The story of A Fold Apart is quite simple really. A couple meets and falls in love, as their relationship deepens one of the pair is offered a job. The job, however, requires that person to move to the bustling city temporarily. While the other remains in the small out of the way hamlet for study. You may be noting at this point how awkwardly I have referred to the two characters without gender. But there is a reason for this. The game actually allows you to pick so you can have the default guy and girl, two guys, two girls or invert the default to girl and guy (as in girl gets the job and guy stays behind). It’s really somewhat of a cosmetic change, but the fact they included the options is very progressive and sweet.
To continue on with the story, while the architect is working in the city for the year the pair continue to communicate mostly via text messages. However, there is a lovely dream intro as well. The real story of the game beyond just two soulmates’ love for each other is how stressful and heartbreaking a long-distance relationship can be. And this is of course magnified for anyone who can relate to the pain portrayed.
Overall I found the story to be quite emotionally resonant. When the two found each other and fell in love it was sweet. When you see the characters struggling and trying not to let the other know it’s heartbreaking. But ultimately in a very good way.
The art-style in A Fold Apart is very cute. A lot of bright colors, especially contrasting warm and cool colors (red, orange, yellow and blue, purple etc.) The characters themselves have a very cartoony style, with the blue one looking somewhat boxy and the orange one being slimmer which makes their head look even larger. As per the name of the article I was reminded a lot of Pixar productions. In particular with both the designs and colors I was reminded of Inside Out. The animation isn’t quite up to that level (not many are honestly). With occasional moments of objects clipping through each other, in particular glasses that seem to float on the character rather than sitting on them. But overall it still looks wonderful.
Level designs are generally fairly basic but the backgrounds are filled with lush colors. And the paper folding both looks and feels really nice. The game also uses a lot of very nice visual text. Both in the form of text message bubbles and having the dialogue spelled out on the screen in some rather eye-catching fonts.
The music in A Fold Apart is pretty solid and really pushes the emotions the developers are trying to evoke. The opening loosely follows the structure of the opening of Pixar’s Up. The music is bright and lovely as the couple fall in love, and then it becomes melancholic and sad when they have to part ways. The magical dream sequence evokes dreamlike wonder by pairing the visuals with the music. The game is very dialogue-based as well, but it is not voiced so the music goes a long way in setting the tone.
Sound-effects and sound design, in general, are also solid. Again the game is not voiced so it really relies on the music and sound effects and it performs admirably in those regards. Solid voice acting in places would elevate the game to the next level. But overall the visual style paired with the music works quite well.
Gameplay in A Fold Apart is a mixture of visual novel/walking simulator and puzzle game. As mentioned earlier, the game is fairly dialogue-based, with the story being a main feature of the game. There is a mixture of the story playing out by itself and being able to select a response. Similar to games like STONE where the dialogue forms one part of the game. However, the other part of the game is the puzzles. Which are in the form of pictures that you can flip and fold. It might take a little while to understand at first, but the game has a nice tutorial to ease you in.
Essentially each picture will have a star on it that you must reach. But getting to the star isn’t as simple as just walking over to it. So you’ll need to flip the picture to see what is on the other side, fold the paper to remove obstacles and create new pathways. And sometimes unfold the paper to create new paths too. The game requires you to think in a particular way to solve the puzzles. But sometimes you can just randomly stumble onto the correct answer. There were even a few times that I’m certain I solved the puzzle incorrectly. Because the solution I came up with so inelegant in comparison to the other levels.
As you progress through the game more features and mechanics are added. And overall it’s a really lovely little game. Just like Squatch and Hidden Through Time, there’s no real scoring system. Or ways to lose. You can play at your own pace, however, unlike those games, you can get lost in the story here too.
A Fold Apart is a lovely little game. The story is beautiful and emotional, it’s one that I wish I didn’t relate to though. However, unlike my experiences, I think it will have a happy ending. The puzzle gameplay with the foldable pictures is cute and reminds me of other games but still feels like a new idea. But really it’s the story that hooked me, I wanted to get to the next part to see how the story will play out. The game is 6 chapters long which isn’t overly long, but I feel it would be a disservice to the story to stretch the game out with filler.
While the game is quite nice and I would recommend it, the price-tag is a little high currently. I’d recommend keeping an eye on it, adding it to your wishlist, and waiting on a sale. Because it is worth playing and you should get a few hours of enjoyment out of the game.
In Coffee Terms
In coffee terms, A Fold Apart is like a dark black coffee in a bright mug. It looks appealing and it tastes good but it is bittersweet. You sit down with the one you love but when you look up from your drink they are gone. Sadness wells up inside you but the drink remains good and you endeavor to finish it, and with the last sip there they are, right in front of you as if they never left. And happiness washes over you.
A Fold Apart Links
One half of the YouTube brother duo, The Game Bros with Sirhc and Ar0n, Chris is a lover of games, movies and other great things you can do from home.
Coffee of choice: I like the sweeter kinds, mixed with chocolate, coconut, caramel etc. but I won’t turn down a flat white or a straight black either.