A Fold Apart is a cute, impactful, and interesting puzzle game that I had the pleasure of playing over the last week or so. A Fold Apart combines a story that pulls at the heart strings, a Pixar-esque art style, and unique puzzle mechanic. Let’s dive into what A Fold Apart is and why it has found a place in my “must play emotiona games” list.
A Fold Apart tells the story of a long distance relationship. You are given the opportunity to play both parties, the girlfriend and the boyfriend, during the game. Each party in A Fold Apart has very different perspectives on the impact of the long distance relationship, and that helps the story stay fresh and emotionally charged.
The core of the story revolves around the girlfriend traveling across the country for a great opportunity (in my play through, you can reverse the roles). She is a young architect and has been given the chance to design a city landmark. This is obviously an opportunity that cannot be based up.
Immediately, the game throws some information at us. The girlfriend loves the city and the boyfriend loves his small town. Uh oh! Other bits and pieces of story pop up, such as a countdown to their next visit. I don’t want to give away too much story, as it is a treat to play through, but you can imagine all of the different issues a long distance relationship may bring up.
You play through the interactions between both parties via text. A Fold Apart gives you the ability to respond in these text chains by supplying a few choices. As each character deals with their own internal struggles with the dynamic, A Fold Apart begins to truly shine.
As the characters examine their self-doubt, platforming-esque puzzles appear. These puzzles are solved by manipulating the scene like a piece of paper. You can move on the platforms, fold the scene to line up the platforms, rotate the scene and look at the back, and even undo folds. The goal of the puzzles is simple: get past the heartbreak robots and collect a star.
Every time you solve a puzzle, the character works through their problem, and the narrative moves forward. Each subsequent issue is solved through a more difficult puzzle. If you are worried that the pacing of the story may be impacted if you have trouble with a puzzle, fear not! A Fold Apart offers you the ability to be helped through the puzzles right from the menu.
As a rule of thumb, I very much enjoy indie titles that are story-driven. Some of my favorite games include The Unfinished Swan, Fez, Journey, and Bastion. In a lot of ways A Fold Apart reminds me of those experiences. That’s very high praise indeed.
I mentioned the art style earlier in my review, but it helps make the entire gaming experience much more charming. The only way I can explain the art style is bright and vibrant Pixar meets Overcooked!. The art goes a long way to combine with the music and story text to make you feel what the game is meant to make you feel.
The puzzle mechanics were interesting, fun, and refreshing. As you would expect, the puzzles start simple as the game teaches you the different mechanics. As the story progresses, new mechanics are implemented, and more difficult puzzles are presented. Eventually, the puzzles just keep ramping up. I never felt like I wasn’t being challenged.
I have never been in a long distance relationship, but from other life experiences I can say that A Fold Apart nails a lot of the emotion that is part of these types of things. Between the individual characters dealing with self doubt to the interactions between the two, to the music and art, A Fold Apart is consistently tugging at your heartstrings.
A Fold Apart is a beautiful intersection of narrative storytelling and interesting gaming mechanic. Whether you enjoy solving puzzles, exploring emotional stories, or both, A Fold Apart is for you. Heck, if you are just looking for something good to play and don’t know what to grab next, prioritize A Fold Apart.
A Fold Apart is live on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch now!
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