Occasionally here at Player2.net.au, we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for a blockbusting amount of time (2 – 5 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Feist
There’s a show my kids like to watch called ‘Humf’. It’s about a “small furry thing… exploring and learning about the world around him”. As Humf learns more, he applies his new knowledge to the greater world around him, slowly figuring things out by trial and error. This, I feel, is a quite apt analogy for a fantastic game called Feist.
In Feist, you play a “small furry thing” who escapes a trap only to find yourself in the middle of a forest, with no immediately apparent goals other than sallying forth into the great unknown. As you make your way through the side-scrolling forest, you slowly start to learn about the world you have landed in – occasionally via in-game instruction but more often through that tried and true method knows as ‘the hard way’.
And the hard way it most certainly is. Though I found a cute kiddie show analogous to Feist, the analogy ends long before Humf gets his customary cuddle. You are a small furry thing lost in the woods and the forests of Feist are full of bigger furry things, as well as a gamut of spiky, flying, crawling, and buzzy things, all intent on doing you mischief, unless you can figure out how to best them.
It’s here that Feist has it’s one potential failing (and I say potential because although it is most definitely trying and sometimes downright frustrating, I personally quite liked it): repetition. Like Humf, our small furry protagonist learns most things via trial and error and often this maxim is pushed to its extremes. Many areas will not only require quick reflexes and a good memory, but multiple attempts to figure out each step until you can get through the whole challenge just right. Those who are keen on games such as the Souls series may appreciate this practice but others will find it simply exasperating.
The graphics of Feist are beautifully minimalist, often drawing comparisons with the silhouetted look of Limbo, and there are few gameplay instructions and no HUD to interrupt the view. This is coupled marvellously with a soft, ambient soundtrack that constantly made me think of the eerie peacefulness of walking through woods whose floor is covered in pine needles.
While this peace is often broken when your small furry thing must frantically figure its way out of another predicament, I found Feist a strangely calming game to play, a feeling at odds with the unforgiving manner of learning. It is often tense and relentlessly challenging, particularly when its emergent gameplay elements strike, yet somehow maintains a balance between chaos and order that leaves you feeling accomplished at the end of each level.
“It has been said that a good writer can use two words to communicate ten. This bio is already twenty words long and Stevie hasn’t even told you anything about herself yet. She likes video games, especially the pointy-clicky, adventurey kinds, and also likes writing, so this video games writer gig suits her nicely.”