Not all games are meant to be played in order to reach a goal, some are created to simply give the player a space to retreat into and relax after a stressful day. I’ve seen this in a number of PSVR titles, experiences which you could technically ‘complete’ within 30-60 minutes yet you could also spend hours within them, calmly letting yourself become fully immersed. Feather is one such game, only it’s not presented in VR, it’s a game you can now pick up on every platform as a means to escape for as long as you wish.
Developed and published by Samurai Punk, the team behind the innovative Screen Cheat and the crazy Roombo: First Blood (yes, it’s a killer robot vacuum), Feather was originally launched on the Switch and PC last year yet it’s now available on PS4 and Xbox One alongside a new ‘Explorer’ update which expands the experience.
I’ve played the game for around an hour, seen both islands and obtained all the trophies, but will I return to the game post-‘completion’? Let’s find out…
Feather isn’t a ‘game’, or at least you shouldn’t look at it as one. You take control of a mysterious bird as you sore through the sky majestically and explore your surroundings. The Low-poly aesthetics help create a surreal and fantastical experience whilst you dive-bomb from a great height, pull back and increase your altitude, or discover secrets as you glide through hidden caves and small openings. It’s a no-fail flying experience created to simply offer you a place to wind down and relax.
Scattered around the two islands (one is well-hidden) are multiple things to interact with. You can create your own music by flying into bells and wind chimes, travel through portals to change the skin of the bird you control and pass through different portals to change the music which is currently playing. There’s no goals, no objectives, no enemies, no hazards (as you automatically rewind a few seconds if you bump into anything), and no puzzles, just exploration and taking in the view.
I asked a question in my intro, I said will I return to Feather now I’ve ‘completed’ it – the answer is yes. Every now and again I like to put on a game I can simply explore or play without caring about trophies or progression, I just want something to dive into and play with to pass some time – Feather seems perfect for that. Yes, I obtained all of the trophies within around 30-45 minutes (and people have already posted guides on how to get the platinum within 17 minutes), but this isn’t a game about trophies, even though I know the quick and easy platinum will almost certainly boost the games’ popularity in the trophy hunter world.
One aspect of Feather which surprised me is the fact that it launched with full cross-play multiplayer, which seemed a little strange. Basically, it’s like Journey – as you fly around various other gamers are placed within your world, flying around doing their own thing. It’s a way to give the game life as there are no NPC birds or creatures. You do have the ability to birdcall the other players but that’s about as far as the interaction gets, it’s limited but a nice addition which further immerses you within this world.
A feature which I feel Feather was missing is a PSVR mode. I remember playing Eagle Flight in VR when it launched and I was in awe at how the game felt seeing the world from the perspective of an eagle. This game would have perfectly recreated that feeling had it offered a VR mode. The developers have dabbled with VR before, having released the wacky American Dream a while ago, so maybe a VR mode isn’t an impossible request?
I love the design of Feather, it has a low-poly design which allows the game to be very colourful and vibrant whilst being surreal and fantastical as opposed to realistic. The game has a day-night cycle, changing the lighting as you fly around and even presenting you with various random weather effects depending on what the game chooses the forecast to be for that day. Also, the secret caves within this mysterious world have striking neon lights and luminous plant-life which look great as you swoop around them.
In terms of the audio, Feather has a number of different music tracks which, as mentioned previously, start as you fly through various portals which are around the islands. These are all very relaxing and fit the game perfectly. The only other sounds you’ll hear are the calls of other birds, your wings flapping against the air, and the natural noises of things such as the wind, waterfalls and crackling fires.
You can achieve the platinum trophy within 17 minutes (the time it takes to have a full day-night cycle), but that’s not the purpose of the game. It’s a place to retreat to if you need somewhere to relax, a place in which you can simply fly around and explore by going places only a majestic bird could go. Obviously, it’s up to you as to why you buy the game, but I know that I’ll return to this whenever I just want to fly around and forget things for an hour or so.
If you’re looking for a place to wind down and relax, Feather is for you. Although the game itself is quite short, you can easily lose hours within the experience as you fly around and explore both locations either alone or with random people from all other platforms. The beautiful low-poly aesthetics are vibrant and colourful, offering you a surreal adventure which is akin to games such as Journey. How much entertainment you get out of the game depends on what you’re looking for, trophy hunters may finish it quickly whereas casual gamers wanting a place to escape to will get much more out of it.
- - Beautiful visuals and soundtrack which fully immerse you
- - Cross-platform players will randomly appear in your game
- - Perfect for relaxing or unwinding with
- - It is quite short if simply going for the trophies
- - Interactions with other players is very minimal
- - Not a negative but I would have loved it if the game had a VR mode