At first glance, the visually striking artstyle of pastel monotones and whimsical forest aesthetics easily draws you into the inviting fairytale-like world of Fe. The short 3D platformer, sees you play as the title character ‘Fe,’ a fox-like creature, as you explore a vast woodland inspired by developer Zoink Games’ native Sweden. This forest is inhabited by a variety of adorable animals who are under threat from the ‘Silent Ones,’ mechanical beings intent on trapping these creatures and disrupting the life of the forest.
Developer: Zoink Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: XBOX ONE, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)
Release Date: 16th February 2018
The game is set apart by its distinctive artsy style of cool coloured tones and an artfully rendered natural environment. The hostile areas resided by the Silent Ones, on the other hand, are distinguished by their grey colours. At first, the charming environment is highly appealing. New abilities unlocked throughout the course of the game include tree-climbing and gliding, allow you to discover more of the world piece by piece. However, this appeal soon wears off after a few hours of exploring, with the lack of variation across the areas becoming apparent, making exploring the world quickly feel repetitive.
The game’s highlight is undoubtedly its music, adding a playful and charming element to the world. With no words spoken, you befriend other forest creatures through singing. Each animal type has its own unique melody and must be learned and replicated in order to form bonds with the creatures. These bonds will allow you to use different plants, which open up more areas of the map to explore. With no direct guidance on how to proceed, it’s taking cues from the world around you and your animal allies which allow you to progress through the game.
“With no words spoken, you befriend other forest creatures through singing. Each animal type has its own unique melody and must be learned and replicated in order to form bonds with the creatures.”
Despite it’s strikingly quirky art style, the game is unfortunately let down by its controls.
Platforming mechanics often feel frustratingly clumsy and slow. The gameplay itself is very simple with no obstacle proving too difficult. However, with the lack of any real challenge, it’s easy to quickly lose interest.
With the wordless experience of the game, a clear narrative is not present. Instead, it is ultimately left to the player to figure things out for themselves through exploring the world and watching cutscenes. This sense of vagueness and lack of clear objectives can make the story feel confusing and oftentimes aimless, further dulling the experience of the game.
While the game has moments of potential, it fails to develop these further. Despite an attractive artstyle, the game’s visuals cannot make up for the lack of substance. Overall, Fe is a game that makes a great first impression but ultimately doesn’t live up to expectations.