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Review

Fe (Switch eShop) Review

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It’s always been interesting to see the gaming medium evolve, for games to try new things, figure out what works and what doesn’t, and to see how future games reflect those things to make an entirely new experience. Fe might not be 100% original in its mechanics, but the way it blends decades of game design into a streamlined and fantastic experience is definitely something worth experiencing.

Fe is all about exploring and rescuing a forest under attack by unknown enemies. You’re a tiny fox-like cub that wakes up in the middle of it all going down, learning as you go what’s happening, as well as expanding your abilities to help you explore and interact with more of the forest.

While I try to avoid making direct comparisons in reviews, Fe is a game that borrows and expands upon many of our favourite series’ DNA, where it’ll be hard not to bring them up. The first comparison is with classic Zelda, with a game world with distinct areas with a clear objective, and plenty of side tasks that will help you on your way. A lot of these areas will also bring challenges that feel like classic Zelda dungeons, with puzzles, stealth and a collection of smaller tasks needed to progress.

The other big comparison to make, is with Metroid. Exploring the forest in Fe is a huge part of the experience, including interacting with plenty of different animals and plants. As you progress, you learn new animal languages that help you interact with plants that help with mobility, or ones that help you clear obstructions. You can even sing to the adults of each species for even more handy ways to move through the game world.

A lot of the side tasks in the larger areas lead to pink crystals, which can be used to upgrade your cub’s abilities, including climbing trees, running on all fours and even gliding. While a lot of the more advanced abilities are optional, combining the tree climbing and gliding is quite important for navigating a lot of the areas.

The forest itself is absolutely gorgeous, with each area having a really distinct colour scheme as well as gameplay feel. There’s plenty of trees and rivers, as well as a frozen mountain and a big, vertical arena type level, with each having a different set of problems and solutions to move through.

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The actual game design is fairly hands off, giving you a general idea of what to do, while giving you space to learn and experiment with new mechanics. This does have the trade off of sometimes being slightly obtuse, but more often than not, the colour cues and context provided are enough to figure out what to do. Even if you do get stuck, you can call a bird to guide you to your next objective.

You can‚Äôt really die in Fe, either. Some enemies can trap you, leading to a reload to the last save. This gives failure a purpose, letting you learn what does and doesn‚Äôt work for solving a particular puzzle or sequence. I‚Äôm all for games that let you ‚Äėdie‚Äô without leading to a frustrating and arbitrary punishment.

My only real gripe with the Fe, is the clunkiness of the controls at certain points in the game. Without giving too much away, there’s one level that requires a lot of good timing, jumping from tree to tree, that took me way longer because the tree climbing mechanic would sometimes throw me off a tree before I got to the top, or my glide would just miss a tree and I’d have to start all over. These moments are fairly few and far between, but they definitely stand out when they happen.

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As for the Switch version, there are a few frame drops and hiccups here and there, with the game even freezing for a few seconds and times. It’s mostly solid and totally playable, but hopefully those performance issues can be fixed in the future.

Fe is just a beautiful, ambitious game that takes a lot of established ideas and puts it all together to make a thoughtful, enjoyable experience. While there are a few moments of frustration, the game still trusts you to learn and grow in your own time, making for a unique package.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Good

+ Beautiful world to explore
+ Trusts the player to figure stuff out
+ Thoughtful game design

The Bad

- Controls aren’t always the best
- Some performance issues
- Can be unclear at times

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Fe is just a beautiful, ambitious game that takes a lot of established ideas and puts it all together to make a thoughtful, enjoyable experience. While there are a few moments of frustration, the game still trusts you to learn and grow in your own time, making for a unique package.

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About The Author
Tori
Long time Nintendo fan, addicted to Mario Kart.

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