F is for Falling
iPhone App
$0.99 Buy now!

F is for Falling

Our Review by Bonnie Eisenman on February 1st, 2010
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: NOT YET
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F is for Falling would be a charming avoidance game and a great "reverse Doodle Jump," but the jerkiness and loading times just get in the way. It's a shame, but until the app sees some more technical polish, I'd advise you to wait.

Update: Version 1.4

Rarely have I seen a game make such a turnaround. In the iterations since 1.1, Jonathan Mulcahy has done a lot of tweaking, and the lag and stutter that plagued F is for Falling are almost gone. It's still not perfect, but it's definitely playable, and much more enjoyable. A touch control option has also been added.

I can now say that F is for Falling is fun, as it should be; it no longer warrants a cautionary warning. However, it's still not quite as fluid as I would like, and I still run into some bugs. Therefore, consider it a "good" game, but not a must-buy. Our star ratings have been adjusted accordingly. Much credit to the developer for working to improve his game!

Developer: Jonathan Mulcahy
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Game Controls [rating: 70/100]
Gameplay [rating: 75/100]

iPhone Integration [rating: 70/100]
User Interface [rating: 70/100]

Re-use / Replay Value [rating: 75/100]

[rating: overall]

Doodle artwork is all the rage these days, and F is for Falling clearly draws a lot of inspiration from the game that started it all: Doodle Jump. In F is for Falling, however, you play a stick-figure stunt man, and your goal is to fall down as far as possible without striking a "hazard"—you know, missiles, planes, hot air balloons, and the like. Tilt controls move you left and right, and the game continues until you run into something. What promises to be a great pick-up-and-play title, however, is marred by a few technical issues.

When you first boot up the game, you're greeted with excellent hand-drawn artwork, all of it created by the developer himself. A plane drops you out of the sky, and you begin your descent, attempting to avoid the hazards that fly on-screen. Once you run into something, be it a flock of birds or a rocketship, your character promptly explodes; clouds, however, are safe. Every element is gorgeously rendered; other doodle-style games typically have simpler, crisper graphics, but I prefer the pencil-and-watercolor combo evoked here. The background music is good, too, and definitely fits the game.

However, the lack of technical polish immediately stands out. For one thing, the load time is aggravating; even when switching between menu items, you have to pause to wait for the game to load, and it's most annoying when you've just died and want to launch right into another game. In a pick-up-and-play title like this one, every second counts. Also, the acceleromter-only control scheme is far from perfect. I didn't have a problem with the calibration so much as the sheer jerkiness of moving my character around. Stuttering, drag, and lag are not things I like to see, especially in a game like this.

These issues are a real shame, because F is for Falling feels like it should be a lot of fun. If the game wasn't as unpredictably jerky, I could easily recommend it. A few performance tweaks are all F is for Falling needs in order to be a great title. For now, I'd advise you to wait; while there's a lot of potential here, the controls need to be more fluid before it's ready for prime-time. Promised updates are supposed to relieve some of these issues; we'll update our recommendation then.

iPhone Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

F is for Falling screenshot 1 F is for Falling screenshot 2 F is for Falling screenshot 3 F is for Falling screenshot 4
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