I fell from Grace is one of the strangest games I’ve had the pleasure of playing in recent times. It’s such a nontraditional mix of elements that comes together to create a unique gaming experience.
You assume the role of Henry, a worn down and low paid medical researcher whose wife, the titular Grace, is terminally ill. Just in case you thought that wasn’t bleak enough, the couple is struggling to recover from the loss of their unborn child. Add to that the setting of a dystopic, modern-day Maine, where every other person is hopelessly addicted to drugs, and I fell from Grace paints a harrowing picture from the outset.
But hope is not all lost – one day Henry is accosted by an angry bag lady who prophecises that he can save both his wife and the rest of humanity. He gets a strange package in the mail containing six mysterious pills that can apparently cure ailments. Oh, and he begins to receive visitations in his dreams from an angel, as well as two oddly-speaking children.
That’s a pretty dynamic mix of narrative elements, however the thing that stands out the most is that every character speaks in rhyme, like some psychotic present-day Dr. Seuss story. Out of everything, this is the thing I love the most about I fell from Grace. It demonstrates that each and every line of dialogue is a lovingly crafted poem, and adds a richer depth to an already heavily narrative-driven game.
Mechanically, I fell from Grace is almost a classic point-and-click in that it does without the mouse and manages everything via keyboard. However, the traditional inventory and selecting to interact with the environment remains as per historic titles like the Monkey Island series.
Much of the gameplay is structured around solving puzzles, which ultimately – in true point-and-click style – amounts to running around different stages to find items that unlock sections of other areas. The game starts you off slow and easy, with getting a box to reach the top of a tall bookshelf; but as you progress, and there are more areas to explore, it gets progressively harder to figure out the next step.
That’s where I fell from Grace falls down hardest – it delivers such a strong narrative punch that it’s almost as if the UI took a hit in development as a consequence. The game isn’t kind when it comes to reminding you what your current objective is, or giving any hints about where you might find the item you need. That’s a big part of the fun, but if you like your games to lead you along, or you can only play intermittently, then you might even consider making some notes as you play along.
As is common with story-driven games, different decisions you can make throughout I fell from Grace will lead to different events or endings. And because of its unfocused aim, wandering is strongly encouraged in order to find all of the unlockables. Repeat plays are essential to get the game’s full experience.
I fell from Grace delivers a unique experience, and even if it’s a little unfocused, it can be forgiven with one glance of the gorgeous, rain-drenched, dystopic pixel visuals and poetically deep narrative experience. Find it on Steam here, or visit the official site here.