Action-adventure game Fe is, without a doubt, one of the most well-made, thought-provoking games of the year so far. The narrative it tells is one that strongly relates back to the real world and our relationship with nature, and both the gameplay experience and audio and visual presentation is done excellently. Though it has an occasional small issue, those never last long.
Story: Resist home invaders
In Fe, you play as the small animal, "Fe." Practically nothing about Fe is known aside from the fact that it lives in an unnamed Nordic forest that teems with vibrant life. It quickly becomes apparent that Fe is nothing but an individual in a wider, grander ecosystem. Everything coexists in a harmonious balance.
However, this natural wonder is threatened by a new force: dark, violent beings known only as "Silent Ones." Constructed purely out of black metal and armed with the ability to put any living being into stasis, the Silent Ones ruthlessly hunt down any creatures they can find. It's up to you to find a way to fight back.
I believe the Silent One creatures are a metaphor for humanity. As we advance in the modern age, we put stress on the natural ecosystems found on Earth. Often, the damages we cause are never taken into consideration. This is very similar to the Silent Ones in the sense that they, too, are happy to devastate an environment as long as it suits them. We may not be scary looking, but we may as well be to the animals that suffer from our actions.
Gameplay: Charming and terrifying all at once
Most of Fe's gameplay focuses on platforming segments, puzzle solving, and interacting with creatures around you, both friendly and hostile. Peaceful animals can be communicated with by singing to them; match their pitch and tone, and they'll be inclined to assist you to reach areas otherwise inaccessible.
Hostile creatures, though, are trickier. Silent Ones and other predators can easily kill you if you make a lot of noise or get seen, so you have to stealthily sneak around them. If they have an item you need, you'll have to find a way to trick them into dropping it. This type of gameplay truly makes you feel vulnerable, and I love that. Nature is not always a kind place, and only those with the adequate wits will find ways to survive.
The only flaw in the gameplay lies in the occasionally confusing level design. Sometimes it can be a little troublesome to find the way to your next objective, even if you call upon a bird friend to show you a hint. However, it's never terrible, and after a few minutes you'll eventually see where to go.
Presentation: Phenomenal is an understatement
If there's ever a video game that will silence those who think games aren't art, it will be Fe. It's difficult to even describe just how utterly beautiful it is. The stylized visuals will make your jaw hit the floor, and you'll be getting chills down your spine from the absolutely superb musical score.
Colorful, vibrant, elegant, gorgeous — these are all adequate adjectives for Fe. But none of them truly do it justice.
Fe for Xbox One review conclusion
A thoughtful story, mind-blowing visuals and music, and fun and engaging gameplay come together in Fe to create 2018's first masterpiece. Seriously, you need to play this.
- Thought-provoking story.
- Engaging gameplay.
- Phenomenal presentation.
- Occasionally confusing levels.
Fe is available on Xbox One for $19.99.
This review was conducted on an Xbox One, using a copy provided by the publisher.
Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.