Friday, 14 August 2015



Afitting alternative title to Feist would be Bullying Simulator 2015. Not only does everything in Feist’s murky forests hate you with a passion usually reserved for Ebola-infected traffic wardens, but certain creatures seem to actively enjoy inflicting pain and misery upon you. Feist may look cute and pretty, but it will soon have you weeping in the school toilets as it tries to kick down the cubicle door to give you a swirly.

In terms of aesthetics and tone, Feist owes a lot to Limbo. The silhouetted visuals, physics-based puzzles and general hideousness of the world around you are major components of both games. Add some brightly coloured backgrounds and replace the little boy with a huffing fur-ball, and you have Feist’s basic framework. Despite the similarities, Feist is a far more kinetic game about pushing forwards, using momentum and agility to your advantage. Your goal is to rescue the fur-ball’s mate, who has been captured by what are best described as evil caveman-bear things, and is being transported through the forest in a wooden cage.

Feist’s simple premise is matched by its mechanics. Your controls are limited to running, jumping, picking up and throwing objects, and pushing obstacles in your path, with a heavy use of physics. Leap onto a tree branch, and it bends beneath your weight, and different objects have different mass. A pinecone will travel further when thrown, but will do less damage to an enemy than a log.

In terms of tactility and feedback, Feist is very satisfying, which is just as well as, unlike in Limbo, you often need to confront the monsters in the forests.

From balloon-like flies that stab down with spiky stings, to strange arachnids that appear to have mated with razor blades, Feist is filled with nasty critters, and although you can evade them to some extent, eventually you’ll be forced to stand your ground.

That’s where the game becomes problematic, as the platforming and combat require precision and timing that isn’t matched by the slightly languid movement controls.

Since so much of the game is affected by physics, it can be unpredictable too, which is fine to an extent, but not when the crate or branch on which you’re balanced is constantly being rocked and battered by enemies. Worse, during the latter stages, you’re constantly mobbed to death by enemies through no fault of your own, while the caveman-bear things can easily throw you like a tennis ball into all kinds of other hazards.

Feist has its merits, but the second half of the game is more a test of resolve than a pleasurable experience. It also doesn’t do anything tremendously exciting or innovative; at its best, it’s a competent jumping game. Still, it’s pleasingly cathartic to stand up to bigger creatures than you, even if you get your furry head kicked nine times out of ten. RICK LANE