Fe

Sing to the for­est, scream from frus­tra­tion

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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 midair 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.

ver­dict

a beau­ti­ful world marred by ir­ri­tat­ing con­trols.

6/10

Clam­ber to the tree tops to get a tac­ti­cal view of your sur­round­ings, which you’ll need to avoid the Silent One’s gaze.

details Pub­lisher ea De­vel­oper Zoink PSN Price £15.99 Play­ers 1

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