A Fold Apart

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
A Fold Apart Game Poster Image
Novel paper puzzler tackles long-distance relationships.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The story explores the trials and tribulations of long distance relationships, including communication, career goals, and personal interests. Players are rewarded for using lateral thinking to find paths through the game's mazelike world.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The two protagonists are good, loving people trying to keep their romance alive as it encounters multiple obstacles. They communicate with each other, express inner feelings, and struggle valiantly to be fair to each other with the aim of making their relationship work.

Ease of Play

The mechanics are simple: players just tap (or click) to move and drag the edges of pictures around to fold them. But the paper-based puzzles become pretty intricate over time, requiring multiple folds and flips -- all of which must be undone if you realize you made a mistake early on.

Violence
Sex
Language
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Fold Apart is a puzzle game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Apple Arcade, and Windows PCs. The game is about a couple attempting to keep their love alive over a long distance. Players watch the pair's story unfold across a series of animated pictures set on distinct pieces of paper. When a character reaches an impasse, the player must either fold or flip over the pictures to create a new path so they can continue on their journey. These puzzles serve as a metaphor for the protagonists' relationship, which is laboring under the stress of geographical separation. The pair are kind, fair to each other, and loving, but distance and time apart makes them think about what they want from each other, what they want for themselves, and reveals the various options open to both of them. The puzzles can be tricky and the story will resonate most with older players, but the content's safe for most ages.

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What's it about?

A FOLD APART is a puzzle game that turns the difficulties of a long-distance relationship into a set of paper-based conundrums to be solved. It begins with the player choosing the participants of the relationship (they can be heterosexual or homosexual), followed by a short opening movie that shows how the pair meets and falls in love with each other. But one is eventually given an important career opportunity that takes him or her to the city on a contract, while the other remains in his or her idyllic country home. This sets the stage for the game's paper-based puzzles, which see the protagonists journeying through the world and talking to themselves or communicating via text messages, always with a focus on their relationships, goals, and feelings. As they walk along, they can step between pieces of paper into new environments -- so long as the two-dimensional paths on each picture link up. If they don't, the player will need to tap and drag the edges of the picture to fold it -- or flip the paper over entirely -- to make the paths join. This is how the pair attempts to overcome the obstacles within and without their relationship.

Is it any good?

We need more games with this kind of courage. A Fold Apart cuts its own path in both puzzles and storytelling, providing players with a genuine tale of two people attempting to make their relationship work despite plenty of obstacles, the most obvious of which is geographic distance. Through authentic sounding texts and poetic musings, you're taken on a tour through their thoughts, exploring all the things that are important to them about both each other and themselves. Their problems ought to ring true for anyone who has attempted to see a relationship through troubled water, though the way in which its all presented -- a mix of cartoonish graphics and whimsical typography -- helps keep things from ever growing too dark or overly dramatic.

But most interesting is how the puzzles themselves are designed to mimic the problems they're experiencing. The novel mechanic of folding and flipping pictures to create new paths for them to follow serves as a lovely metaphor for what it's like to attempt to find new ways to keep love alive amidst major life changes and evolving personalities. That said, the puzzle mechanics can feel a bit awkward at times. Folding and unfolding the paper pictures is simple enough, but making a single mistake can lead to a series of useless moves you'll be forced to undo as you search for the right one. Hints are available, but adequate guidance up front would have been useful in limiting our reliance on them. This is far from a deal-breaker, though. A Fold Apart is a brave little game with some big ideas on its mind that are bound to resonate with many players.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. A Fold Apart is essentially a story with puzzles, so where do you take cues to take a break: at the end of a puzzle or the completion of a story thread?

  • What are some of the things that draw people together to be friends? What sort of things can push them apart? Why do some friendships survive upheaval -- such as one person moving away -- while others do not?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

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