In a world full of uncertainty and turmoil, it’s nice to take a break every once in a while. Developer Samurai Punk’s bird-in-flight simulator, Feather, allows just that, and is now available for PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One. With fairly simple gameplay mechanics, Feather allows the player to take control of a bird and fly around a peaceful and uninhabited island. Similar to Journey, players (if online) can cross paths with other players and choose whether to partner up, say hello with a quick tweet, or just fly on by.
Whatever the case may be, the player is free to explore the skies, the land, or even the caverns below at their own pace. Even though the controls allow for diving, speeding up, flips, and barrel rolls, the pace tends to be slow throughout the game. The end result is a relaxing and sedate experience with essentially no stressors to be found. But is it worth your time?
If you’re looking for a chill experience after a bad or long day, Feather will work wonders. Along with the easing gameplay, the music is varied and full of tranquility. A unique mechanic is that by going through the circular portal like mechanisms throughout the game, the track will change. Similarly, passing through the triangular portals will change the appearance of the controlled bird. This adds to the visual variety of the game and allows the player to further connect with their character.
Entirely instrumental, the music provides a perfect backdrop to the mellowness that the game exudes. The art style is also simple yet effective. Even within the relatively small space of the island, the varied landscapes, different styles of birds that the player can transform into, a dynamic weather system, and the unique foliage result in a fully realized world. It helps now that the game offers cross-play as well, making the likelihood of running into other players more common.
The game automatically reversing the player after colliding with any solid surface is annoying. Even though plowing through the side of a mountain when you’re a relatively small bird doesn’t make sense, experiencing a Prince of Persia-esque rewind sequence after every collision doesn’t really make sense either. Also, the camera automatically reorienting itself right after a manual adjustment is awkward. Finally, even though the game is charming and relaxing, there isn’t much to do. There isn’t much motivation or reason to keep playing after the areas have been explored.
Feather is a short and sweet game that is enjoyable if not purely for its mellowness. The art, music, and visual variety heighten the experience to make it even more enjoyable. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t provide a lot of replayability, bringing its value into question. It really boils down to wondering if an inexpensive chill simulator is your cup of tea or not.
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