Last week on GameSpace I introduced many of you to Fe, an action-adventure platformer developed by Zoink and published by EA that I believed could be one of the best games in its sub-genre. Since then, I’ve spent quite a bit of time traversing the, sometimes abstract, world of Fe. Is Fe up to the task of becoming one of the greatest premiere platformer titles? This is our Fe review.
Fe – A world of wonder.
Imagine an alien forest lush with vegetation, inhabited by creatures of varying sizes and abilities that have been thrown into despair from a race of one-eyed beings hell-bent on capturing these forest dwellers for nefarious acts. This is the basic story driving you, Fe, the main character, in the world of Fe. From the beginning, the story holds no hands apart from loosely trying to guide you towards the main plot point. Those rotten aliens are after your forest friends, and you may just be the only one who can stop them.
You see, things only get more complicated, as Fe is just a small, winged fox-lemur creature, with no inherent abilities to harm the towering Silent Ones that threaten the forest. Luckily much of the world and its forest dwellers respond to singing many of which Fe seems to be rather adept at harmonizing with. As you progress your way through the orange glowing plants and purple toned terrain you’ll find shards you need to collect to open up new powers or help animals that will inevitably teach you their unique language, which will allow you to advance further in the narrative as you are then able to request assistance from new friends.
Follow the “friendly” animals?
The narrative, though, is somewhat tough to decipher and define, as there are no spoken words in the game. You communicate through singing with your animal friends. You come across cave paintings and obelisks that define a backstory, much of which I’m only able to take as a topical reference, as etched depictions can sometimes be tough to interpret. This can sometimes create a rift in gameplay between what the player is expected to do and what the player thinks they should do.
During a recent play session, I encountered one such matter when I reached a cave with a large, hungry, bear-sasquatch creature that was holding an egg I was meant to retrieve. The Bear-squatch was certainly my objective, as the guide-birds that you can summon when stuck were clear in that determination; but because they can’t specifically tell you what you have to do to retrieve the egg, it was a conundrum I spent an abundance of time on, questioning and trying many different things before I finally found the answer by chance.
With no direct storyline or guidance on accomplishing certain feats, some players could feel a sense of frustration, as I did, until I inevitably solved the “puzzle” with a sigh of relief and was then directed on my way to the next task. It’s important to disclose that in many cases, the puzzles Fe presents are enjoyable. There were some moments that I found myself completely awe-inspired by their level and puzzle designs, thoroughly enamored with their character interactions, and supremely exhilarated by the challenges that were presented. One such time was when Fe was tasked with helping an enormous deer-like creature that felt like an homage to the beloved title Shadow of the Colossus.
Fe is a beautiful, original title, but it’s not without some issues. I had several points of contention with Fe, including some technical problems I encountered along the way. I precluded one issue I had where objectives weren’t always clear while playing. Also, Fe on the PC definitely feels like it was geared with a heavy console focus, limiting what kinds of visual capabilities you can choose, such as view distance, shadows or density. They also do not have a reticle which would have greatly assisted in utilizing the mouse and keyboard to play the game. Fe only truly clicked for me when I plugged in my Xbox controller, but even then, Fe limited the in-game views so that you couldn’t zoom in or out of the action. For a game with such beautiful vistas and varying level designs, the ability to adjust your camera dimensions changes a lot.
The sharp, stylized, geometrical design of the game world and its inhabitants coupled with the intricate care placed on creating a unique gameplay experience left me thinking about Fe even after I ended my last play session. The vision of presenting a storyline without the use of a direct narrative is compelling that is only bolstered by challenging platformer gameplay. If you find yourself to be an adventure game lover with a fondness for platforming, I stand by my assertion that Fe is by far one of the best platformers to land on all platforms in a very long time.
NOTE: Our copy was provided by PR for review purposes on PC. We also played it on Switch, the game was roughly the same across platforms.
Final Fe Review Score: 8.5
- Gorgeous angular world design
- Intricate and challenging platformer puzzles
- Sophisticated storytelling without a narrative
- Beautiful aural atmosphere
- Some puzzles can get confusing with no clear directions
- View distance can be frustrating especially with no reticle
- Graphics options are mostly non-existent including no borderless windowed mode