One of the last things I expected to be at PAX East 2020 was misty-eyed. But that’s exactly what happened to me when I got a chance to play Lightning Rod Games’ own A Fold Apart. A tale of the challenges surrounding a long-distance relationship, the title uses a brilliant digital paper folding mechanic to create puzzles for the player to solve.
Folding two hearts into one
As I started my short but sweet A Fold Apart demo, I was immediately appreciative of the couple options. Both the blue and red character (an architect and teacher, respectively) can be portrayed as male or female, so you can mix it up to have your favorite OTP. For the purposes of my playthrough, I chose male architect and female teacher.
Feeling a sense of loneliness, my architect saw his beloved fly by the window. Upon leaving said aperture, he entered a dreamlike world where he’d have to make it to his partner on the other side. The puzzle aspect of A Fold Apart comes in when there is no straight line to her. It is at these points where you must fold a part of the level into itself to create a path. It’s quite a sight to behold.
As you complete sections of a level, things get more complicated. Towards the end of the PAX East 2020 build, I noticed my fold didn’t leave a path to the end. This is where the game’s flip mechanic comes in. Any segment can be turned over, showing another part of the world. I placed my architect on a platform, flipped it over, and was then able to see him on the other side. Thus, I was able to conclude the demo successfully, after racking my brain for a good five minutes. The title is quite ingenious with its enigmas.
Connecting relatable experiences
I chatted a bit with Steven Smith, Co-Founder of Lightning Rod Games, after my playthrough. We spoke of A Fold Apart‘s Pixar influences, how later levels incorporate new mechanics to test what you’ve learned so far, frustration with forced Achievements/Trophies (Steven wants the game to be as straightforward as possible), the inability of texts to explain a person’s intent, and the difficulties of choosing between one’s livelihood and their loved ones. As someone who has that as a possibility in his future, I can relate.
Hopefully, players will be able to use folding to make sure the couple in A Fold Apart has a happy ending. The game is due out this year sometime soon. Check out its official website here. Also, if you want to see a Nintendo Enthusiast interview with the devs, witness it below: