Sing to the forest, Scream from frustration
Harmony is meant to be at the heart of Fe. Sing to the animals of the forest to bond with them in this actionadventure game and use their abilities to stop the mysterious Silent ones. it doesn’t get much more wholesome than that. Yet even though the world is a bewitching, colourful menagerie, Fe is more likely to leave you frustrated than enthralled.
Pairing up with the creatures of the forest on your travels is undeniably uplifting, thanks to the gentle crooning that you control with r2. finding just the right pitch requires the most delicate of touches, making you feel how precarious the balance of nature is with every gentle tap of the trigger. magic seeps through the design of fe’s world too, its stylised colour scheme making it easy to read environmental cues to find the bits you’ll need to solve its simple puzzles.
Don’t expect a clear take on good and bad, either. hidden away among the enigmatic ruins is the story of the Silent ones, which has you literally seeing through the eyes of one of your foes. Walking around in their shoes is unexpectedly sympathetic, turning them from shallow environmental upsetters into a far more intriguing entity.
Yet despite Fe’s good intentions, moving through the world isn’t as smooth as it should be… which doesn’t exactly make you feel in harmony with your surroundings. one light touch of the analogue stick when you’re in mid-air will send you on a wild trajectory that you almost certainly didn’t intend, and the same goes for gliding. Whenever you lift off from a tree (something that you’ll be doing very often, by the way), start to glide and you’ll find yourself suddenly pushed to one side by the sensitive controls, which will send you careering off course while you try to reorient yourself.
Because you spend most of your time jumping or gliding, this gripe soon gets incredibly irritating. You’ll be moving around a lot, too, thanks to the lack of clues about how to solve the puzzles. Yes, hints are drawn on nearby rocks… but so are depictions of Fe’s backstory, so it’s tricky to tell one from another. though the lack of hand holding encourages you to explore its stunning setting, at times you’ll feel a little bit too alone, wishing you could just ask for help using, you know, words.
Fe’s majestic world makes up for the smaller grumbles that will inevitably emerge from your mouth during your time with it. not quite making a jump to a moving tree will have you screaming one minute, but the next you’ll be admiring the animals darting through the undergrowth. But it’s not quite the carefree experience it could be, and its frustrations could even have you siding with the Silent ones.
Above: Clamber to the tree tops to get a tactical view of your surroundings, which you’ll need to avoid the Silent Ones’ gaze. Right: Hide in the tall grass to avoid being spotted by your enemies – unless you want to end up encased in a gooey shell.