The concept of oppression and dehumanising people is a common one that crops up in videogames. I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the developer is reducing the characters they have in their games to little more than binary code that must obey the player's command. Such a being has no thought of its own, so it's natural to expand that to beyond the character to the game world itself. Black the Fall is very much a demonstration of this concept and the time I had with it was both thought-provoking and fun.
From the very start Black the Fall makes it clear that the character the player is controlling has broken free from their drudgery and must escape the clutches of its former masters. These appear to be robots that demand humans do their bidding by riding stationary bicycles that power various bits of machinery.
If the character is spotted by the robots he is immediately gunned down without hesitation, such is the brutal world the player finds himself in.
Each level consists of puzzles that require thought and some dexterity on the part of the player. Machine parts move in a pattern that must be discerned and then traversed. I often came a cropper simply because I didn't time my passage properly. The urgency of some actions can be quite overwhelming as robots try to find you and chase you down mercilessly.
The stark world of Black the Fall is colourless, save for the red lights emitted by the ever-watching cameras and turrets that spread throughout the levels. Make a wrong move and you will die under a hail of bullets.
While oppressive in style there appears to be a glimmer of hope for the character being guided by the player through this horrific world. It's the chance for freedom not only for the character but for everyone else who is suffering under the yoke of the machines. It is that which drove me on in Black the Fall more than solving the puzzles themselves.
Black the Fall is due out later this year for Windows PC, Mac and Linux.