I’m not exactly sure which game first used the silhouette artstyle that FEIST uses, but I can easily say LIMBO has to be one of the most popular. To be fair, FEIST shares a lot with LIMBO beyond its aesthetic. For starters, FEIST has a story that is less than obvious, only revealing tiny parts when the player starts to feel starved for purpose. To compliment the story’s unclear nature, the gameplay doesn’t ever come right out and tell players what they should do or how to overcome a particular obstacle. While this all sounds like staples of similar games (LIMBO obviously comes to mind), I can assure you that FEIST has many unique traits that can’t be found in other games.
While the artstyle isn’t the most unique aspect of the game, it is still done in such a way that feels fully original. Unlike LIMBO’s fully black and white take on the silhouette, FEIST adds brilliant colors to the backgrounds and even some of the characters. Whether it be the player or the enemies, most characters have little white eyes and red spots that appear when creatures attack or perform an action. These little details mixed with the bright backgrounds are only one half of what makes up the ambience of the game. The various songs that play throughout the game always match the tone that is trying to be set by the visuals and story. When I found myself casually strolling through a relatively safe area, there always seemed to be a song playing that induced a feeling of nature and serenity. In fact, every time I heard a new song I tried to figure out if it held any narrative based significance.
Examining each song that played while I tried to take on a looming beast made each encounter that much more meaningful. In many games, a lot of heart and meaning is lost due to the amount of things going on at any given time or how jaded the player is by the time any meaningful events take place. Since FEIST is sort of simplistic in nature, it allows players to focus on details they would normally miss out on. While trying to hone in on all the little things going on during the climatic ‘boss’ encounters, I slowly pieced together an idea of the story that was unfolding as I played. Without ruining anything, I will say that it is very important to pay attention to the large beasts encountered throughout the game. These beasts hold a significant role in the game’s less-than-obvious plot. Fighting these beasts requires players to use all the skills they’ve learned up until that point and make for some of the most fun points in the game.
The reason these fights are so fun is because they aren’t like other enemies found throughout the game and will not roll over the moment they’re hit with a stick or rock. This means players have to be crafty and careful, running when it’s necessary and fighting when it’s feasible. This all is easy to keep up with as the game controls are very tight and responsive. Not bothering with over complicated controls or pointless mechanics, FEIST sports an intuitive control scheme that most players will be able to understand without having to be told twice. This simplicity comes in handy when the game’s length is taken into consideration, as it is only a few hours long even with several deaths from start to finish. Dying was something I personally did a lot since the game’s more unique enemies and obstacles were also some of its most dangerous.
Bringing its own take on dangerous environments and death dealing bad guys, FEIST has all the typical staples of silmilar games while managing to put an interesting spin on each. In the environments for instance, I found it very appealing when I could walk past obstacles or jump on top of them to reach new heights. This alone may not be truly unique, but it is done in such a way that it feels completely natural and as smooth as can be. On top of this, each of the enemies feel special or at least different from many other games. With caterpillar like enemies that have long spines running down their backs to flying fuzzy creatures that shoot barbs at the player and can be picked up and used as a ranged weapon by the player. No matter what element I examined, I seemed to be able to find something about it that only FEIST can offer.
Despite LIMBO carving out its role as an important indie game that popularized the spooky silhouette artstyle that FEIST uses, FEIST manages to put a spin on a lot of what made LIMBO great. Simply by adding color to the previously grayscale backgrounds, the world becomes vibrant and lively instead of dead and dreary. This is also helped by the soundtrack that doesn’t fail to set the mood at any point in the game. This works wonders for the plot as it slowly unfolds without drawing too much attention to itself. All of this is rather unique to FEIST and creates a memorable experience for the few hours it lasts. I can say that I would suggest this game nearly as much as I would suggest LIMBO itself.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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