The Fall is a kickstarted side-scrolling sci-fi adventure. The game is the very first release for Vancouver-based studio Over the Moon. It melds tense exploration of an alien world with devious puzzles and occasional action sequences, all tied together by a genuinely interesting and original story. Players take on the role of ARID – an artificial intelligence embedded in a combat suit, intended for use by a human pilot. As the game begins, ARID's pilot is mortally wounded, and her systems are damaged. You don't know where you are, having crash-landed on an unknown planet, but you must do everything you can to keep your pilot alive. It's not often that game stories examine AI personalities. There's the classic Planetfall by Infocom, and Wadjet Eye Games' recent Primordia, but it's surprising how few other games touch on a topic so intertwined with the computer technology that they're based on. By raising questions about forced obedience and the legitimacy of artificial life, The Fall is a worthwhile, if short, addition to these efforts.The game focuses mainly on exploration, which makes for a refreshing change of pace when compared to other side-scrollers. More importantly, it allows players room to breathe; there's no relentless push to the next objective, and you can really soak up the atmosphere on offer. While the default running speed is adequate, I actually felt compelled to walk for much of the game, because I wanted to spend more time enjoying the sense of exploration and suspense.It's a shame that the story, as compelling as it may be, is told almost exclusively through dialogue. Given the strong atmosphere and fascinating setting, I would've loved to see more environmental story-telling a la Fallout 3.Occasionally, The Fall dips its toes into the action-platformer pool by throwing a handful of enemies your way. There's a rudimentary cover system on offer, but the combat feels pretty clunky.In an interesting design decision, the exploration and combat modes of gameplay are separated by way of a toggle switch. When inspecting the world, ARID can use a broad torch beam to highlight interactive objects, but it switches to a laser targeting sight at the press of a button.Graphically, The Fall looks great thanks to its brooding minimalism. The focus on silhouettes draws obvious comparisons to Limbo and the many games released afterwards that tried to ape its art style, but it's done well enough here that I really can't fault it.The audio, too, is excellent throughout. The game is fully and ably voiced, with no noticeably flubbed dialogue. I was also very impressed with the soundtrack, which makes several dynamic changes based on location and fits well with the visuals. Sadly, with no difficulty settings or branching paths, I suspect most people will find replayability limited. This wouldn't be an issue at all if the story were longer, but even the most puzzle-averse gamer is likely to complete the game in few hours. Still, this isn't unreasonable for a quality title, and The Fall fits firmly in the same realm as games like To the Moon and Botanicula, price point included.If you're looking for your next action-packed side-scroller, you'll probably find this game unsatisfying and a little long-winded. For everyone else, especially fans of adventure games and sci-fi, you won't want to miss this one. The Fall is a great story, well told, and it's thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.