A Fold Apart is very relatable, especially in an age where long-distance relationships are more and more common. A teacher and an architect meet and fall in love; time passes, the architect moves away to work on his dream job in the city, designing and building a massive building leaving the teacher in the home they built. Alone. Living apart starts to put stress on their relationship, only communicating via phone.
It’s Lightning Rod Games first release, although members of the team have worked on titles such as Battlefield 3 and Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes. While completely different game-play wise there is some prestige at the studio. A Fold Apart started as a concept and was shown off at Game Developers Conference’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop.
While playing though A Fold Apart you start to feel the mounting pressures and the characters’ insecurities start to get the better of them. Neither wants to tell the other how they truly feel about the situation they’re in—in fear of alienating or making the other feel worse for the choices they made.
Any time these insecurities surface, your conversation bubble grows and cracks. A piece of virtual paper floats down laying itself on the screen. You’re presented with a puzzle. At the same time your character battles with their emotions as you work your way to the end (usually denoted with a star). This is well presented and atheistically pleasing.
The puzzles are progressive too. They start very basic, offering you simple folds along the left and right sides of your virtual paper, and the ability to flip it over. These flips and folds allow you to connect various broken platforms, or dodge obstacles creating paths for your character to move along. As you progress, the parts you can fold expand to the top, bottoms, the corners and even rotating the screen. This makes you think even more when trying to figure out what to manipulate to get to your goal.
There’s a real progressive feel, and the game adds in these new mechanics in a manner that is easy for you to pick up. Although some may find the boxes to teach you these new mechanics overly obtrusive when they pop up and outstay their welcome. This is a tiny niggle.
It does have some bugs, the game has the odd tendency to freeze meaning you’ll have to quit back to the desktop. Although when this does happen you won’t lose much progress, due to the auto-saving after every puzzle page; it is very frustrating. This isn’t a significant problem that’ll hinder your enjoyment, but one that happened a little too often.
The games play time might feel too slight for some, especially if you really get into the puzzles and want more. The average completion time for the game is set around the two and a half-hour mark. While there is an end—it feels a bit rushed—for the length could have offered more to finalise the story giving a better payoff. That said the game is perfect for an afternoon.
A Fold Apart is a great little puzzle game, very aesthetically pleasing but it’s more than that; it’s a heartfelt story that tugs at the heartstrings and teaches the importance of communicating, especially in a long-distance relationship.
Should you play it? yes
Why… It offers you some nice puzzles and the story is very relatable for anyone who’s had to deal with a long distance relationship.
But… the overall playtime might leave you wanting more.
Key kindly provided via Evolve PR
Developer: Lightning Rod Games Publisher: Lightning Rod Games Playable On: Nintendo Switch, Steam (reviewed), iOS Released: 16 April 2020 Cost: £13.94