Human: Fall Flat is less dopey than it looks, though it does look very dopey. From screenshots you might think it's just a goofy physics game about gelatinous jelly people straight out of Gang Beasts who flop around castles, power plants, and train depots, but it's also a fairly smart puzzler—once you get the hang of its fiddly controls.
Your left and right mouse buttons make you grab with left and right hands respectively. You move your arms up and down by shifting the camera, so if you look up you'll throw your hands in the air. You combine grabs and arm movements to haul yourself up ledges, press buttons, and turn levers.
It's painful at first, but soon you’ll be connecting power leads to kickstart engines, collecting coal and dumping it in furnaces, and piloting a massive freight ship. The puzzles stretch both your mechanical skills and your powers of imagination, throwing a few headscratchers your way across nine themed levels that will take you about five hours to fumble through. Best of all, most puzzles have multiple solutions, so even after you've seen mine you'll be able to find your own. Here are 15 that made me smile.
Fling yourself across the map from a catapult
Perhaps my favorite moment in the entire game. You see the pile of rocks, you see the catapult, you see the wall you're supposed to knock down. And then the idea hits you. What if instead of rocks, I put myself in the catapult?
Yup—it works. Human: Fall Flat encourages that kind of experimentation throughout.
A makeshift zipline
I'm not even sure how I got up this tower, but I'm glad I did. After fumbling with the giant hook for a while I manged to sling it over the wire and ride it through the level. I smashed into the wooden house, but you can go further if you get the angle right.
Ride a windmill
Why make a regular jump when you can grab onto a giant windmill, ride it around and around and let go at just the right point to send you sailing across a gap?
Row, row, row your boat
Human: Fall Flat's odd controls make everything look a bit silly. To row this boat, you have to thrust your body back and forth, looking up at the sky and then at the ground. It's quite hypnotic, actually. You can row for ages, but most people will use this boat to get to a bigger one…
Rev the engine
And then this speedboat takes you to an even bigger one…
Sound the foghorn
And then this cargo ship takes you to an even bigger—actually, this is as big as it gets. It's still cool to pilot, though. You pull the levers to control two engines on each side of the boat, so you can steer from side to side. You'll be doing a lot of pulling levers in Human Fall Flat, as you'll see soon.
Drive a bulldozer
It wouldn't be a comedy physics game without gratuitous destruction, would it? It looks simple, but the first time I tried to smash this wall over, I failed. Momentum is a big part of the puzzles in Human: Fall Flat, so you have to build it up by rocking the wrecking ball backwards before letting it loose.
When in danger, break glass
More crumbly walls here, but I also love the amount of glass you get to smash in this game. I reloaded this level four or five times so I could throw that fire extinguisher over and over again.
Speaking of throwing stuff, the controls make aiming anything difficult. It's frustrating at times, but that means that it feels great whenever you're on target.
It's all ruined
When you're not smashing stuff, you'll probably be running and jumping. You'll see I jump with my arms raised in the clip below—that's so I can grab a ledge and then pull my body up. You'll do that a lot, but Human: Fall Flat makes it trickier by throwing in the odd platform that collapses, leading to moments of panic.
If there's a jump you feel you can’t make you can always (whisper it) cheat. Perhaps 'cheat' is too strong a word, but a bit of nimble climbing will let you subvert certain puzzles and scale walls that you shouldn't be able to.
It takes some practice, but our hero is surprisingly bendy, and will do what you want if you push him hard enough. How bendy, I hear you ask?
Do the limbo
A big fan
But Human: Fall Flat's levels are not always trying to crush you—sometimes they will give you a helping hand. That coal you saw me chucking is used to fuel furnaces that fire giant fans, which treat you to a free float. It's like one of those skydiving simulation machines.
The belt line
And then there’s these conveyer belts. The game's levels have lots of moving parts, and sometimes your best option is just to cling on for dear life.
Crossing large gaps often means swinging on something low-hanging and then timing your release to get the right exit trajectory. Swinging from objects—dangling lights, chains, wires and the like—will let you reach new areas or reveal hidden secrets.
These are just a handful of the things you'll be doing in Human: Fall Flat. If you don't mind the fiddly controls, then it’s worth picking up, especially now that it has multiplayer so you can enjoy doing all of these things with your friends, who will absolutely co-operate and not get in your way at all.