Review – A Fold Apart

Puzzle games are a dime a dozen these days, so developers need to come up new and inventive ways to keep things fresh. Luckily, there have more than a few surprises lately in terms of offering gamers unique experiences. Titles like Baba is You, The Pedestrian, and The Turing Test have all successfully found new ways to set themselves apart from others in the genre. A Fold Apart from Lightning Rod Games is the newest addition to the indie puzzle game scene, with a gameplay gimmick all its own. Does it have what it takes to stand out from the rest or will it be tossed aside into obscurity?

In A Fold Apart you play as a couple who are in a long distance relationship. They are separated from one another when one of them is offered a huge job opportunity as an architect in the big city. The other is a teacher who chooses to stay in the country and eagerly awaits the return of their beloved. Throughout the course of the game, they’ll text each other back and forth and you’ll soon discover just how quickly things can be misconstrued and make the situation even harder.

A Fold Apart

It paints a clear picture of both sides of the story.

Gameplay-wise, this is a paper folding puzzle game. You’ll move each character right or left to get to the next screen and start the next puzzle. Each puzzle has you folding the screen like a piece of paper, in either horizontal, vertical, or diagonal directions. The goal is for you to manipulate the screen by folding it strategically so you can get your character to the star and advance the story. For the most part, the puzzles are incredibly easy, but there are a few that provide a decent challenge. I can tell that the goal of A Fold Apart isn’t to work your brain muscles, but more to provide a somewhat cathartic experience while the the tale unfolds.

A Fold Apart

You’ll fold the images in all sorts of clever ways until the way forward is clear.

When you first see this game, you’ll be taken in by its adorable cartoony style and vibrant color palette. This is in stark contrast to the serious nature of the game’s subject matter. It’s actually a bit jarring once you start getting further into the story and see each character’s darker thoughts about their predicament. A Fold Apart touches on very real topics regarding long distance relationships, depression, and miscommunication. It’s presented very convincingly and you truly feel for each them. The message is a good one, but the trailers for this game paint a much chipper picture of it than what you’ll actually experience.

The sound design is fairly strong in A Fold Apart. There’s no voice acting, so the tone of the game is largely relayed through its music. None of the score will stick with you after you’ve played it, but it does a good job of conveying the emotions each character is feeling at that time. It’s just subtle enough to not take away the focus of what’s happening, but accompanies the whole journey very well.

A Fold Apart

Will they get their happily ever after?

A Fold Apart is an enjoyable time, but I feel like it’s promoted in a slightly deceiving way. It’s not a cutesie upbeat game about two people missing each other. In fact, it’s a serious look into the hardships of being in a long distance relationship and how quickly things can go wrong when you can’t express yourself properly. It will really hit home for anyone who’s been in this sort of a situation. Surprisingly, the paper folding puzzle aspect of the game fits the subject matter very well, as their lives are being turned upside down by the circumstances. It’s also a very short game, taking only a couple hours to beat and doesn’t offer any replayability. I’d say that if you’re a fan of puzzle and narrative-heavy games, A Fold Apart might be worth a playthough, but maybe wait for it to go on sale.

 

Graphics: 7.0

The art style is cute, simple, and cartoonish.

Gameplay: 7.0

You’ll move the characters either right or left to get to the next screen which brings you to paper folding puzzles. You can fold vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.

Sound: 7.5

No voice acting, but the music is what’s used to convey the game’s tone and it’s done well.

Fun Factor: 6.5

A Fold Apart is a short, super easy paper folding puzzle game. Beneath its cutesie visuals is a serious and depressing message about long distance relationships and miscommunication.

Final Verdict: 7.0

A Fold Apart is available now on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of A Fold Apart was provided by the publisher.