I went into Feather expecting something along the lines of Journey or Abzu. That is, a low-key, relaxing gaming experience that consists of exploration, great visuals and a loose set of goals to accomplish. Feather only managed to hit 1 of those marks.
The game throws you right into things where you control a bird flying around an island. You can do barrel rolls, dive, and chirp. So the typical bird things although admittedly I haven’t seen a lot of barrel rolls from birds in the wild. I spent the first 10 minutes flying around, going through rings that change the music and finding portals that drop you hundreds of feet above the island so you can dive back down. I did have a bit of trouble getting my bearings when moving the camera while also changing flight direction. I’ll chalk that up to my lack of flight sim experience as it’s something you would most likely get used to after a while. It would have been nice if you could have clicked R3 to center the camera behind you again, that would have been helpful when it came to not crashing into the ocean / trees / ground / mountains.
After about 10 minutes or so I was thinking “hey, this is a pretty cool tutorial stage” until I came to the realization that this isn’t a tutorial, that this is it, the “game”. There are no goals in Feather, nothing really to do other than fly around and occasionally pass through rings which act as a radio tuner of sorts, changing the music you fly to. Visually the game is stunning; you can fly inches above the ocean, through forests or up a snowy mountain. Unfortunately, the island, while diverse, is quite small so you’ll see everything there is to see within 10-15 minutes.
Feather felt more like a tech demo than a game. I get that it’s supposed to be about the experience of flying but at the same time, having something, anything to accomplish while exploring would have been a nice add. The size of the island will leave players wanting as far as exploration goes. The combination of a small map with no goals to accomplish, items to collect or things to interact with makes for an uphill battle to hold a player’s interest.
All that said, if you’re looking for a relaxed gaming experience on the Switch that will hold your interest there are better options for you than Feather. If you just want a periodic break from your day to soar around a tiny island, well then this game is probably right up your alley. Personally, I’d rather swim with the fish in Abzu.
*DFAT was provided a review copy of the game.