The Falconeer is the title presented by the mind of Tomas Sala, who as a solo dev, has created his story around aerial combat and a fantastic world overwhelmed by the immensity of the ocean and breathtaking skies.
The adventure follows the world of “The Great Ursee”, full of small archipelagos, mountains, and maritime chasms, mirrored all around the corner. This title is also marked by a story with many intrigues, in the style of Game of Thrones.
The player wears the skin of a Falconeer, a pilot who holds the reins of a huge bird where his main objective is to perform tasks for several island nations, in a partially open world. As the name shows, the biggest part of the game involves driving the bird itself, in order to fulfill a certain objective. Of course, things are not so linear, as it involves combat mechanics against enemy factions.
The controls are accessible and quite simple, but there is a learning curve that will accompany the player throughout his missions. At your disposal, the player has the attack button and the possibility to perform defense maneuvers, more precisely the possibility to dodge enemy attacks. In addition to this action, which after a while can become a bit monotonous, there is also the possibility of picking up floating bombs and printing damage to enemy boats. These are the two main types of enemies, boats, aircraft, and other Falconeers.
That said, its gameplay becomes super repetitive over time, but what drives the player to continue his adventure is really his story. This title attempts to demonstrate all sides of the barricade, as it places the player himself as an agent of change on opposite sides of the conflict. A little confusing, but in fact, the game changes its perspective as you dive into its lines of thought. There are a lot of soldiers coming from different islands with different cultures, which enriches their entire environment.
There are two types of missions, the main ones that accompany the narrative and the secondary ones that are mostly designed to collect money. It is interesting to make improvements to the warbird, with descriptions that are really little seen. It is possible to use mutagenic items to improve certain aspects, giving access to passive effects that can, for example, improve its ability to fly, or make the bird itself in a state of permanent fear.
Unfortunately, the checkpoint system in this title can make things quite frustrating. The missions usually last a long time, since they have several stages. The problem is that even with the difficulty of the game in normal, our bird is very fragile and it is very easy to lose the notion of life bar when our concern is to knock down all enemies and not crush against rocks or even enemy ships.
Although the whole environment is stupidly well brushed, most of it is practically empty. Yes, it has brilliant sunsets, water effects, and very good clouds, but that’s it.
The soundtrack captures perfectly the lonely feeling of an approaching storm.
In short, The Falconeer will have a hard time trying to please all the players, but thinking that this title was produced by just one person it gives a whole other taste to take our own bird and break the winds and tides.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game for Steam, provided by Heaven Media.]