Feist (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 10.08.2015

Review for Feist on PC

2008 was a year gaming will be remembered fondly as the year that rogue, non-studio funded games finally received recognition. Braid, Audiosurf and Castle Crashers exploded onto the scene, changing the way games were viewed forever. It was the same year a little game by Florian Faller and Adrian Stutz was heard of. That title has made an impressive journey over the last seven years, still keeping a loyal fan base since its announcement, and for that, the team known as Bits & Beasts should be proud. Now that the game has released, and their "baby" is ready to be revealed, it's time to explore the world that is Feist.

A common assertion online that is Feist resembles Limbo, and in many ways it does. However, it seems more graphically in tune to Badlands… Until a certain point. While the graphics are, by and large, minimalistic, it's the environment and details that really stick out. Upon stumbling across lakes in the foreground, it's clear this game makes absolutely sublime use of its 2D environment. The stunning attention to detail is awe inspiring. Even the detail of the main character, whose hair becomes more frayed the more damage he/she takes, is fantastic. Many 2D games could take a lesson from the sheer beauty found in the forests and caves throughout Feist.

The sound is equally minimalistic, and does a superb job of setting the tone along with the graphics. Despite the graphical tone being beautiful, it's also oppressive, and the music, if it could be called that, follows suit. Don't expect any grandiose scores that are meant to be empowering, as the music makes the player feel nothing more than helpless. Even though every note slips into the background, it also, subliminally, serves to create a perfect cocktail of dread and overshadowing death.

2008, as stated before, was a big year, if not the biggest, for indie gaming. Feist seems to be stuck in that year, as it feels like the gameplay is the one spot where faltering commences. First of all, a lack of many tutorials means experimenting is highly involved. The tutorials offered are few and far between, leading to a lot of moments of discovery. On this note, Feist hits its high note, as discovering things without help is a great treat. It doesn't feel too good for long, though.

While the lack of tutorials may add to the oppression, after the first encounter with a giant fur beast, they're more of a nuisance than some sort of epic struggle. A few of them even seem disproportionately stronger than others, but this is mostly related to the environment they must be faced in. Again, the game layers itself with dread, and these fellows are clearly not layered well.

Screenshot for Feist on PC

A few spots in Feist even fail to follow its own rules. Frequently, enemies weigh down disproportionately on the main character, and since it is so much smaller than pretty much every foe, it feels like a Collosi throw down. Actually, it feels like bullying, because although the death meter is present in the form of the fraying hair of the avatar, there is no real consistency to how much damage that can be taken before staring at its lifeless body.

To draw an old point back in, Feist seems stuck in 2008, despite being a beautiful game. It doesn't lean on the lessons of its indie brethren, leaving behind seven years of solid knowledge the community has handed back to the indie game makers. However, Feist still overcomes. Despite feeling helpless, players actually have several tools at their disposal. Sticks break rather quickly, rocks slow the user down, and flies are very handy. Being the only weapon of real long term use, flies are definitely worth picking up, turning from fearsome foes into pseudo pistols.

Due to a near perfect execution of realistic physics, Feist definitely nails platforming. Using spiked balls to climb high by throwing them and creating a step, or bobbing up and down on a tree branch, excellent physics are present throughout. Enemies fall into the physics fray, too. It's hard to understand the full strength of one of the furry beats until it chucks the avatar across the screen. While it can become tiresome to be so helpless, it's hard to not be amazed at how beautiful it is while watching it unfold.

Feist's seven year incubation did it well. Looking back at old YouTube videos from when it was first announced, it's clear the long wait was, unlike so many games, very important. While it may play dirty pretty much the entire time it's turned on, it manages to provide a satisfaction and elation-inducing genius at most of every corner. Hopefully, this will get the traditional indie treatment, and come to consoles, as well, because, for all its flaws, Feist is a game everyone should experience at least once.

Screenshot for Feist on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Feist struggled to get to where it is, but it's finally arrived. Now, it seems to struggle to determine whether it wants to be inviting or sadistic. Death is inevitable, but everything is so pretty. While it feels, at most times, to be malformed gameplay wise, it frequently reminds that it is able to recollect, and could be one of the best platformers of 2015. It is too short, though - especially if it can be completed without dying - to really say it's fantastic. It's not a bad game, just rough around the edges. At the end of the experience, it's one that wouldn't be worth missing, but getting to that point could be disappointing more than inspiring.

Developer

Bits & Beasts

Publisher

Finji

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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