When someone is in a relationship with someone else they will most likely always go through some ups and downs together. My significant other and I certainly have and I’d say that most other couples can attest to this. Things aren’t always easy but what’s important is trying to figure out how to navigate the rough patches together. Of course this can be tough to do especially if you’re in a long distance relationship where you are missing that feeling of togetherness. Why am I talking about all of this? Well a new game from studio Lighting Rod Games called A Fold Apart just so happens to be about a couple who is in a long distance relationship.
Upon starting up A Fold Apart on my Nintendo Switch I was given the option to pick the gender of the two characters in the game. It then goes on to present some scenes and pictures of the two characters having fun, laughing, and overall basking in each other’s company. Everything seems good until one of them ends up getting a job far away and leaves on a plane. This is where the long distance part of their relationship begins and where the negative feelings start to emerge. Being away from someone you love naturally starts to plant seeds of doubt in your mind and that feeling of loneliness can be an overpowering thing. You get to feel what these characters are feeling when you read the conversations they have via text messages in every chapter of the game.
The game plays like a 3D puzzle game and has you moving the characters as they text back and forth. As you’re moving around you see the messages pop up on screen. I can’t say enough about how well done the writing here is and how it really conveys how each of them is feeling. I tried the long distance thing once in my life and so I could definitely feel where each of the characters was coming from. Sometimes the game steers the conversations itself and other times it gives you the option to pick what to respond with. At certain points something gets said that causes the other character to start feeling some strong negative emotions and you’ll have to solve a puzzle to help them overcome it.
These puzzles are basically representative of their inner struggle. Each one will have you doing things like folding the scene like paper to help the character get to a star. The game starts you off with some pretty simple ones and limits what you are able to do to solve them. Early on you’ll just be folding the scene horizontally to solve the puzzle but later in the game you’ll be able to fold vertically, rotate the scene, flip it over, and more. There were a few times where I had to stop and think a little on how to proceed but since I’ve played a lot of puzzle games I was never stuck for too long. Even less seasoned players I think will be able to get through without too much trouble. If you do find yourself struggling there are hints available and even an option to skip these parts and move on. What I didn’t like about the puzzle parts though was the speed at which the character moves. Sitting and waiting for them to walk and climb over something at a snails pace was really irritating at times as I just wanted to move on and see what happens next. If they moved just a little bit faster during these parts it wouldn’t have been an issue.
When it comes to the visuals A Fold Apart has a charming look to it. It isn’t that impressive visually but the paper look and colorful scenes were pleasing as I played through it. I also really liked how the scenes would change to fit the emotion the character was feeling at the time. I did run into a few performance issues though on the Switch in the form of some frame rate dips but they were never anything more than a minor annoyance.
A Fold Apart is a colorful, creative, puzzle game that really highlights the struggles of being in a relationship with someone you can’t be around in person. As someone who has been there I can’t say enough how well this game conveys the feelings you will most likely experience in a relationship like this. A few things about it brought down my enjoyment a bit but if you want a game that will get you right in the feels then give A Fold Apart a play.
*A Fold Apart is available now on Nintendo Switch and PC. Reviewed on a Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.