Developer: Samurai Punk
Publisher: Samurai Punk
Samurai Punk’s first game was ScreenCheat, -a unique, split-screen multiplayer FPS where every player is invisible and players must look at one another’s screens in order to track and defeat their opponents. Now Samurai Punk is back on Switch with Feather, a flight sim where players experience how it feels to be free as a bird as they fly around a beautifully crafted world.
Spiritual Content: While there are no overtly spiritual themes in Feather, the sensation of being a bird seamlessly flying between environments could be described as very zen and meditative which are prominent aspects of some Far Eastern religions.
Violence: While players may encounter other birds (controlled by other players) the birds cannot fight each other and there are no natural predators to worry about. The game is devoid of violence entirely except for when your bird drowns if you accidentally fly into the water (which I did on more than one occasion…oops).
Drug Use: There is no drug use whatsoever in this game.
Sexual Content: There is no sexual content in Feather either.
Feather is a game unlike anything I have played on console before. While it ultimately feels like a mobile game at its core, there is plenty of appeal here for people who want a game they can pick up and play for minutes or even an hour at a time just to unwind and meditate. What I mean by this is that Feather is essentially a glorified flight sim on Nintendo Switch. This is not inherently a bad thing, but the overall lack of content makes it difficult to justify the game’s price.
When players boot up the game they are dropped into a world solely inhabited by birds who most closely resemble falcons or hawks. As players fly around the different islands in this world there is a day/night cycle and different rings to fly through to change the soothing, ambient background music during gameplay. There are other birds in the game, each one controlled by another player but there is no direct interaction and birds cannot fight or otherwise do much of anything outside of flying around together. This is about the crux of the game, but I have to admit that, the flight controls here are pretty tight for an indie game, and Feather is the most fun I have had flying in a game since Anthem launched.
Coming to a full stop mid-flight or dive-bombing towards the ground before swooping over the fields at the last second is surprisingly exhilarating in Feather despite its minimalist graphics, which most closely resemble Ashen. Another plus is being able to change the game’s music by flying through rings scattered around the map. This is a nice touch as the soundtrack is one of the best in recent memory. Every song in this game would feel right at home in the Life Is Strange franchise, even though the tracks have no vocals to accompany their soothing rhythms. There are also secret doors hidden on distant islands or in the tall peaks of a mountain that instantly teleport you to different parts of the world when you fly through them. This helps to break up the monotony of feeling like you’re flying in circles over the same environment. There were several times where I felt that these portals teleported me to a different island entirely until I once again came across a familiar landmark I had flown by only moments before. While some might consider this repetitive, the environments are varied enough that it took several hours of continuous play before I noticed that I had been flying through the same locations multiple times.
I have only two faults with the game. The first is that the price seems a little steep as there really isn’t much to the game itself. It is for all intents and purposes, a bird simulator where all players can do is fly around. $7.50 max would be the best price for what is offered. My other complaint is that I could never get the inverted camera option to work correctly during my time with the game. I prefer an inverted camera when I play games and flying felt awkward and difficult for me as a result of this issue, although I eventually got the hang of it. This is somewhat less of a problem when playing in handheld mode thanks to the included gyroscope controls.
While there isn’t much content overall and even less depth to the game, Feather is a great time waster and its nice to come home from a hard day at work, throw on some music (or just lose yourself to the ambient tunes in the game), and become a bird for an hour or two. What kid hasn’t dreamed of being a bird and flying around the world at some point or another? Feather lets players finally live out that dream. This game knows exactly what it is and precisely who it was designed for, and it wears that knowledge on its sleeve. For fans of artsy, experimental indie games, Feather comes highly recommended. Those who prefer to do more than just fly around for a few hours while listening to soothing melodies should look elsewhere.
Review generously provided by Samurai Punk
The Bottom Line