A Fold Apart
Developer: Lightning Rod Games
Publisher: Lightning Rod Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 17/04/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Now, any game about being in a long-distance relationship is bound to be emotional and tear-jerking, particularly for those who have experienced it. However, being in the middle of a pandemic without being able to see your S.O. if you don’t live together, makes A Fold Apart tug at the heartstrings just a little bit more.
Making Long Distance Work
A teacher and an architect have their lives changed when the architect’s career choice lands them in a completely different city. They’re determined to make things work despite the distance, but each has their worries as they go through a rollercoaster of emotions.
It was an excellent addition that you could change the roles of who was the teacher and architect, as well as having same-sex couples to “choose the couple that best represents you!”. This will be appreciated a lot by the LGBQT+ community as sadly it’s a rare occurrence in games. No matter what couple you choose, the story remains the same as you take on the role of each person to see their side of the story.
Having experienced being in a long-distance relationship, and being quarantined from my boyfriend now, it really showed the relatable yet often irrational thoughts you can experience. For the teacher, it’s “is the job more important than me?” and for the architect, it’s “are you not happy for me?” They’re the almost self-pitying and angry feelings you can go through, while expressing love for each other and just wanting to be together. It was great to show the harsh reality, and though I did enjoy the story, the ending for me was a little underwhelming. I was left wanting a better conclusion, but it was real in the sense that you didn’t know what the future held for the couple.
A Handcrafted World
It was unique to have the narrative story paired alongside the puzzle element as you fold your way through over fifty levels. As you moved your character through the sheets of paper, words would appear around them showing their feelings, but you could also take part in text conversations. You could sometimes choose between two options of what to text back, but I don’t think this has any effect on the story’s outcome, though it made you feel more involved!
Every few sheets of paper you would reach a level, shown by a number of platforms and a star which you must get to move on. These would have you folding the sides of the paper and flipping it to the other side, to match up platforms, hide anything blocking your path, or use a block to climb. Later on, folding the corners and rotating the paper was added for a change in gameplay. The controls were easy to pick up, with every new inclusion having pop up instructions; left joystick to move your character, right to fold the paper from the glowing sides highlighted, bumpers to flip the paper, and then some of the buttons too for climbing or rotating.
That may seem like quite a lot, but they’re introduced slowly! The puzzles themselves were quite challenging; you really had to visualise the outcome of what adjusting the paper will do, without falling off which restarts the puzzle. Luckily, you can get some hints from the pause menu if you’re stuck. However, I didn’t really like the format. It would start the puzzle from the beginning and pressing A would show you each tip, but it would carry out the action for you. Pressing B then leaves you where the tips have taken you; I would rather visually see the next tip from where I am without having it done for me, so I could physically do it myself!
It was handy, though, and you’ll be left kicking yourself at how simple they can be. I’d recommend experimenting before resorting to the hints!
The 3D graphics were stylised and unique to the game, making me fond of the characters and their world, with lots of shapes and environments different between each character. The colours were bright and eye-catching, yet my favourite thing was how they would reflect the situation. The colour palette would swiftly change from soft pinks and oranges to dark and gloomy blues when a character experienced a shift from loving to upset after some upsetting news.
Though this emotion was also shown on the character’s faces and in their actions, it had more impact by resonating in the world around them. The music went hand in hand with this, heavy piano when things were going wrong and uplifting instrumentals in their determined moments. The rustle of the pages turning was particularly satisfying too!
I also liked how the font for each character portrayed their personalities, and this too used colour to show emotion. Words with more stress would be bigger or red to stand out, almost causing you to hear this emphasis when reading! My only gripe would be that sometimes I wasn’t particularly keen on the colour choices against the background, as it often didn’t stand out that well. However, this is purely based on my personal aesthetics.
Will Love Endure?
Once you have finished the game, there isn’t much of a reason to replay it as you know the story and how to solve the puzzles, though I guess you could try it with a different couple. But one thing I did notice was once completing the game, my save has 99%, so I’m not sure if there’s some sort of secret I’m missing! My game did crash a couple of times when a puzzle became too demanding, I assume, which was a shame. Other than that, there weren’t any other performance issues.
A Fold Apart is slow-paced, but it allows you to reflect on the highs and lows of a long-distance relationship, with a heartwarming message. It’s relaxing due to the music and wandering your way through the puzzles, which are the right level of challenge. It can take you around 5 hours depending on how good you are at the puzzles; it took me 6 with some hints, so it’s all down to the person. Some people may be able to rush through it, maybe making the game’s price a little too steep for them. However, in my experience, it’s reasonably priced for an award-winning game. Just be warned, if you’re in the same position as the teacher and the architect, you may need tissues!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase A Fold Apart for the Nintendo Switch at the following link: Nintendo eShop