5 Overall Score

Relaxing soundtrack | Low-pressure, non-competitive | Passive multiplayer | Gentle gameplay experience

Low framerate | Little to actually do | Only one map, exploration area very small | Few players in multiplayer

In a marketplace filled with titles that are overly competitive, noisy, complex, and visually intense, Feather comes along and tosses every single bit of that aside. It’s a game that demands nothing except for your time, and even that is a gentle ask. Billed as “a serene game about the joy of flight,” it’s honestly less of a game than it is a brief visual treat akin to a tech demo showing off some cool new specs and aesthetic concepts.

Is it serene? Yes. Is it relaxing? Yes. Both of these are not bad things. There’s value in having slower, peaceful games, butthat’s just it—this isn’t really a game.


You’ll control a bird flying around a small group of islands (one main island with some smaller areas along the shore). Your aim, if it can even be called that, is to simply fly around at your own pace, exploring the area and discovering small secrets here and there. These secrets are hidden areas, which are exciting to find—such as an underground cave that’s breathtaking to fly through—but once you’ve found them all, that’s it. There’s nothing more to discover. More about that later.

The controls themselves are not bad. You can use standard or gyro controls, and your bird can perform various maneuvers while in flight—turning, barrel roll, fly faster or slow down, and a somersault mid-air to change direction. The sense of movement is impressive, and settling down to perch isn’t really something that the game wants you to do—not for more than a few seconds in specific locations, anyway. Since the are no enemies, there’s no combat to discuss, and “death” isn’t really a factor even while exploring. As you get a handle on the controls—and there’s definitely a learning curve—an unintentional collision simply results in a brief reversal of the past several seconds before setting time back on its course for you to try again. It’s seamless and quite convenient.

As for engaging with the map itself, there are a few areas—such as perching on a pedestal before taking off again—but the most notable are the enormous gold hoops that will change the soundtrack. Flying through these will shift the music, so it’s not a requirement—especially if you’re already enjoying the tune that’s playing.


These are low-poly graphics, and that’s not a bad thing. The environment is pleasing, and there’s a decent amount of variety to the landscape despite the map being quite small. Unfortunately, there are some notable framerate drops while playing, which can pull you out of the game in a rather jarring way.

And here’s the thing—the game also wants you to spend a lot of time with it, flying around and relaxing, but once you’ve seen everything… you’ve seen everything. There’s only one small map for the entire experience. Once you’ve found the secret areas, that’s it. There’s nothing new to look at, nothing to instill that sense of awe and wonder that grows dull after several hours of seeing the same thing over and over.

Why the creators didn’t choose to add several different maps to choose from, with different landscapes or weather conditions is beyond comprehension.


And that’s really just it—it would have made total sense to add a few different landscapes to fly around in; different breeds of avian creatures (or at least a customizable hawk, or a few different hawk breeds). Maybe a time trial for those who want it, or some small, passive achievements that could motivate someone to come back into the game again and again.

Yes, there is a multiplayer, but that’s not enough to sustain the experience. The “passive multiplayer” mode is when someone else is flying around the island (when you’re using the online service) at the same time, your birds can call to each other and you can fly around together. You’ll have fun showing each other areas on the island you’ve found, maybe discovering a few secret locations together, but… you’ll have to run into these people first. And with very few folks online together—at least in our experience—the multiplayer isn’t as much of a draw as the game makers want it to be.

It’s beautiful, it plays well, the soundtrack is a delight, and on the surface, playing Feather is a positive experience for a very short burst. It is so incredibly disappointing that Samurai Punk chose to release this title as-is, rather than spend a bit of extra time and resources to add the kind of depth—which could have been simple, logical, and still catering to the relaxation element—that would draw players back again and again, and create a full game… not a fancy-looking tech demo, which is honestly what this feels like when all is said and done. There’s so much potential here for a complete game with a point, or at least some factor that rewards players for the time spent with it. That’s what draws us back, that’s what gets folks invested in a game. And that just isn’t what’s happening here.

Because let’s face it… it’s one thing to relax. It’s quite another to be bored.


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Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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