I was drawn to Natural Falls V in part after seeing Loverdag’s images of its predecessor, Natural Falls IV, at the end of last year. I didn’t get to see that iteration of the build. so when I saw the newest design in the Destination Guide, I took a rapid leap over to see for myself.
Natural Falls is the work of Dann (DannChris), who appears in Second Life as a highly industrious hamster with talent for, among other things, intriguingly descriptive prose. “Natural Falls,” he notes, “is located in an abandoned, flooded metropolis slowly decaying under a derelict, elevated railway.” It’s an evocative description, and the build – which also sees Natural Falls located in a new sim – more than lives up to it while once again amply demonstrating Dann’s skill in increasing a captivating, atmospheric environment rich in content and potential narratives.
Visitors commence their time in the region at a boardwalk landing-point. This offers a variety of routes around the flooded setting, some of which end in stairways leading down to the water. Above this, seated on tall steel and concrete piers sits the elevated railway. From above, board walk and railway divide the region into an uneven grid-like pattern, as if sectioning this water-claimed city as it sits beneath a brooding sky complete with low-lying clouds.
Blocky, cement-like walls occasionally sit alongside the boardwalk, their many glass-less windows staring over the failing remnants of what was once a thriving urban hub, now reduced to deserted houses, shops and industrial units rising from the slow-moving waters. The detritus of a vanished community litters the flooded streets, and everything at first glance appears to be trapped in the gloom and grey of neglect and desertion.
But – look again, and you’ll realise there is more to see than you may have thought when arriving. Colour sparks across the region, be it from the broken windows of a long-empty shop, the bloom of flowers in a flooded garden, or the splash of graffiti on a wall. While in the distance sits the beckoning glow of many-hued lights. Once seen, this draws visitors to a mystical corner, a world of almost otherworldly allure, suggesting that that even amidst this urban decomposition, something quite beautiful survives.
This blending of art and colour within the wider setting of decay and loss encourages exploration. Nor does everything reside outdoors as well. Thus, time and a careful eye are recommended as a part of any visit, lest something is overlooked along the way.
And when you feel you’ve toured the ground levels enough, remember to check the teleport mirror by the landing point. It’ll carry you up to a haven of light and colour above the clouds, a little island of cosiness to be enjoyed alone or with someone special.
Natural Falls V continues what has been – from the images I’ve seen on the Flickr stream – a fabulous unfolding story, rich in content and presentation, and most assuredly well worth a visit.
- Natural Falls V (Domain West, rated: Moderate)