A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The themes all are implied rather than explicit, but this title's overall depiction of a "slice-of-life" coming of age story positively represents its character's growth and change over time.
Positive Role Models
The unnamed protagonist does use his passion for building to become an architect or civil engineer of some sort, but he lacks the personality to be seen as a positive role model.
Ease of Play
The puzzle mechanics are expertly designed. Difficulty scales at a very reasonable rate, and the puzzles are different enough to use the same simple mechanics but avoid feeling repetitive throughout the entire game. There are also no technical issues that interrupt pacing or gameplay.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
During a vignette where the main character is at a college party, there are plastic cups and open bottles which are implied to contain alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Where Cards Fall is a puzzle game available for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, and Macintosh operating systems. Set in a dreamlike space, the main character moves throughout fabricated versions of locations important to their life from stage to stage. Players must solve spatial reasoning puzzles to progress, using decks of cards to build structures that will help the main character move from point A to point B. There's a coming-of-age storyline attached which is told through short vignettes at the end of every stage. There's no dialogue or subtitles in these vignettes, opting instead for purely visual storytelling. As for objectionable content, there's a scene in which the main character attends a college party which is implied to have alcohol present, and the age of the character is unclear.
Is It Any Good?
This game does an excellent job of developing and refining its puzzle mechanics over time, even if the story is anti-climactic. While the main systems in Where Cards Fall for moving cards and building houses of cards remain the same, it adds small incremental challenges to scale the puzzle difficulty at a manageable pace. This keeps players from feeling overwhelmed too soon as well as avoiding repetitiveness by changing the look of the stages and the abilities of set pieces (such as a cloud which raises or lowers depending upon how many sets of cards are on top of it). It also helps establish differences between the types of cards. Where Cards Fall proves to be a perfect mobile or Nintendo Switch title due to how easy it is to pick up and put down now and then.
Where Cards Fall is a whimsical yet understated puzzle game, and that balance makes it engaging and enjoyable. But problems arise since this title is marketed as a story-based puzzle game. Though the vignettes are visually pleasing to watch, the overall story doesn't leave a deeply emotional impact. Though the story is linear and follows one character, it's difficult to follow. For instance, because the character models are small and the camera doesn't show any close-up images, the characters are mostly indistinguishable from each other. In addition, the choice to exclude dialogue or subtitles within the story is clearly intentional, but it detracts from any messages being communicated. Finally, the vignettes are too short and spread out to track them from stage to stage. Because only some of them are important to the narrative, this puts additional space between impactful moments. Overall, though these narrative problems don't take away from this being an entertaining, well-designed puzzle game. The story element really misses the mark and deserves to be mentioned simply because the game descriptions focus so much on the plot as a potential draw to players.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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