In April of this year, Outerloop Games released Falcon Age on PS4 & PS4 VR. On September 6th this bird handling, adventuring, puzzle game launched for PC and VR on the Epic Store allowing another opportunity for Gamespace to review which is terrific for me as I have been following Outerloop social media for over a year now because anyone who knows me knows I love birds so when I first saw the falcon in this game fly across my Twitter feed I was sold instantly! In fact I love birds so much I wouldn’t be surprised if I was a falconer (or something equally enchanting) in a past life being drawn every time to any game, book or screen character who has a bird for a companion so of course I jumped at the opportunity to play Falcon Age to bring you this Epic Store game review.
Falcon Age starts off with you waking in a small prison-like cell as Ara who is being held captive by robots that have taken over her land, she is isolated except for a bird with its nest and baby on her window sill that she has the means to feed. (Don’t ask me why you have a food dispensary in your prison to feed it.) It becomes clear fairly quickly that you are here to mine resources for a robot but why isn’t as obvious. There is a poster on the wall that will capture your sense of humor and make you wonder what other surprises lay ahead and one minute you are mining ore than the next minute you are the caretaker of a bird. Just as quickly, you have a chance to break free. Fairly early on the step by step narratives and choices given are a fairly accurate gauge on the difficulty of your Falcon Age experience which I found fast at places I wanted more detail and slow at places I wanted the game play to speed up. However, my own impatience could just be because I was eager to spend every moment with my baby bird to see where our adventure would take us, the tricks we could learn and the treasure we could hunt together. So until your escape: it’s just you, a bird and a robot going about your routine, then suddenly your breaking-free path is crossed with a shadowy figure that ends up being your auntie. It is upon this reunion that the story of Falcon Age really begins to take shape.
I restarted Falcon Age in Story Mode numerous times to see what would happen if I made different choices as I progressed but really the game would just loop until you chose the right answer and kept moving forward. I chose Story Mode because it gives me the most natural or challenging mode. There is also Imprint Mode with the choice to engage in combat. In Story Mode, we meet Auntie whose personality comes across exactly as you might imagine a lady, out on her own in a rocky, dry landscape fighting for the return of her land. With Ara also being alone in her work camp prison, the feeling of oppression and isolation is fairly obvious. Something else that strikes you as you play is how little else there is in the form of human life along your path. Yes, you will meet some characters but I found myself wondering often what else there was or what was I missing? Where exactly are we? I never quite got it and craved more exploration but there was still plenty for me to enjoy in the form of recipes, hunting, collecting and puzzles.
If you enjoy puzzles you will be pleased that they start early in Falcon Age but they do not get very difficult. Falcon Age is a very linear game in every aspect which makes it perfect for VR but a little repetitive as a PC player. What makes up for gameplay that often begins to feel like a simulator is that adorable bird, the reason many will be drawn to this game. Just being able to have your own virtual feathered ally is hours of fun without anything else and how your allies loyal personality is captured throughout game play is an absolute delight. The issue I have though is there isn’t many if any consequences to caring for this majestic virtual companion which takes away from being able to immerse as deeply in the game as you would hope. Falcon Age is loaded with ideas but unfortunately gives few reasons to want to keep going back for more. What works out awesomely is I am blessed loving birds as much as I do so I’m content just hopping in the game to take my “birbybirb” for a spin whenever I feel like it which so far has been often throughout my day, its the perfect need to think without distraction activity.
A code for PC was provided by PR for the purposes of this review.