FEIST – Hedgehog in the Fog

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Feist is a stylish, physics-based platformer. Because of the way it looks, moodily lit with silhouette graphics, Feist initially seems reminiscent of LIMBO. But this is misleading. At heart, Feist is a totally different sort of game. Its core is not meditative puzzle solving but a near-frantic brawl. This is not without charm, but with the significant difficulty of the fight mechanics.

In Feist you play as the forest-dwelling fur-ball version of Rambo. (‘Feist’ in Geman means round and furry, while in English ‘Feisty’ means aggressive. Both fit.) A band of creatures somewhere between molls and trolls have locked you in a cage and abducted your kin. You are following their column on its march through the wilderness, confronting them one by one. The terrain is filled with spikey, hostile creatures that make quick work of tiny fur-balls like you. You fight back with your superior agility and make-shift weapons: swinging sticks, throwing stones, even getting them to shoot one another with stingers.

FEIST

These breathless fights with catch-as-catch-can armaments are the largest component of play. The enemies have decent AI, meaning that things actually aim at you effectively, dodge unpredictably, or form swarms which follow you when you try to engage too many at once. The weapons also pose a big challenge. Many are one use: sticks break easily and, once thrown, projectiles must be retrieved. One can improvise a sort of gun by wounding a stinging fly and then picking it up, but these too can easily be destroyed or, worse, escape mid-fight to attack you further. This means that battle is a constant flit from one armament to another, dodging all the while, hoping that your scant hit points see you through. Then there are the moll-trolls themselves, tough bosses who are faster on their feet than you and can absorb significant damage before going down.

I like this idea in principle. It brings a gritty bar-fight sensibility to a platformer. But in practice it is wicked hard; a bit too hard for my taste. Some encounters early in the game took a frustrating number of attempts before I was able to win through, and even then my victory felt lucky. Getting struck in a fight causes you to drop whatever weapon you are currently holding, and you can’t carry more than one, so when the fight starts to turn against you it’s hard to even fight back. Admittedly, this does make each fight you walk away from feel like a triumph—there is no perfunctory combat in Feist. This game is definitely not for those who aren’t already seasoned platformer veterans.

FEIST

The aesthetics of the game, on the other hand, were immediately enjoyable. The almost-silhouette graphics are done in a limited color palate, mostly blacks, whites, and shades of green. Care has been taken to give the illusion of depth and with extras like the texture of reflections in rough water. The world of Feist is damp and moody, and the music compliments this atmosphere. Also worth noting are the wonderful designs of the moll-trolls (I find myself wishing they were good guys). One stray complaint in this department is the odd way enemies explode into pine-needles when killed. Feist’s combat seems so staunchly grounded and then this adds to it a discordantly dreamy effect.

To sum up, Feist is pretty to look at, and challenging to play. For somebody looking for a gritty, combat-centric take on the platformer, it would be a very enjoyable game. To me, who struggled through the initial difficulty curve, it was a moderately enjoyable one.

Feist is a stylish, physics-based platformer. Because of the way it looks, moodily lit with silhouette graphics, Feist initially seems reminiscent of LIMBO. But this is misleading. At heart, Feist is a totally different sort of game. Its core is not meditative puzzle solving but a near-frantic brawl. This is…

FEIST

Moody Graphics & Sound - 8
Novel Fight Mechanics - 7.5
Level and Character Design - 7
Enjoyable Fight Mechanics - 5

6.9

Not Bad

Feist is a novel and challenging platformer--possibly a bit too challenging. A good choice if you're looking for gritty life-or-death brawls in a well-executed setting, not such a great choice if you're averse to long, tense fights and frequent deaths.

User Rating: 4.5 ( 1 votes)

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