The Falconeer from Tomas Sala and Wired Productions is an absolutely breathtaking game.
From the first moment you load it up, the art style will immediately captivate you. The environment and world building is stellar and for an indie title, the quality of game you’re getting is really incredible.
Playing as a falcon rider drafted into a factional battle, players will take to the skies with their falcon and wage glorious battle against a variety of fantastical beasts and enemy forces across multiple chapters.
If you’re playing on PC, it’s advisable to plug in a controller instead before going into battle. The mouse and keyboard controls are fine but the game is exponentially more enjoyable when using a controller.
Players in The Falconeer will control their “Warbird”’s flight while firing off guns against enemy forces. Ammo is housed in ammo packs placed on top of your bird and you’ll have to fly through lightning storms to recharge your ammo packs without overheating yourself with raw energy in the process.
The sense of speed you get from flying your falcon is great in The Falconeer and dealing with wind currents and other dangers such as enemy fire is great fun. Battles are a bit of an iffy situation though.
Enemy forces can outnumber you greatly and you’ll end up weaving through them at high speeds trying to line up your shots. This is fun but after doing this for hours, the repetition does sink in a bit. Especially when some missions are very similar across chapters.
That’s not to say that The Falconeer’s combat or core gameplay is bad. It’s great fun and the large variety of enemy forces to fight including some rather large enemy airships adds to the complexity of the game. Players can also pick up mines and do bombing runs on sea ships for example. Aerial combat however does still make up the bulk of The Falconeer’s combat.
Dashing with your warbird is a rather simple endeavour that involves using gravity to your advantage. Gaining altitude, facing downwards and using gravity to assist your flight charges up a dash meter which can then allow you to effectively boost your speed or perform dodge rolls in mid-air.
It’s great, but it does break up the pace of the game somewhat since you’ll abruptly run out of speed in battles and have to climb and dive again to build up the dash meter.
Going back to the story of The Falconeer, there is an absolutely massive amount of lore and world-building put into this game. Each faction has their own story to tell and the fully voiced cutscenes have great voice acting that sells you on the game’s world and its inhabitants tales. Learning more about the Ursee (the ocean), the towns, the Imperium and the warbirds themselves is great.
There’s also a layer of customization available The Falconeer. Players can pick their rider’s appearance from a pre-determined set as well as their “class” which provides bonus attributes to you. You can also outfit your warbird with various buffs and weapons which can be purchased from a vendor.
Some of these can be slightly disturbing though. The buffs are described as “Mutagens” which physically alter your warbird. The descriptions are definitely not something for the squeamish out there since the explanation of altering your bird’s adrenal glands to produce a beneficial effect might be slightly upsetting.
Nevertheless, these buffs do provide a beneficial effect in battle and can be quite useful.
The soundtrack in The Falconeer is great with lots of adrenaline pumping battle music. The sound of your warbird is also on point and it definitely does sound like a giant bird. Especially when it’s struggling against wind currents and ends up screeching.
Graphically, The Falconeer is spectacular. The game’s entire art style means that every single scene is worthy of being screenshot. The ocean, the mountains, the islands and the sky all have an almost watercolour painting feel to them which makes it incredibly visually appealing.
The game also have a photo mode and while there aren’t any filters available, being able to pause the action at any moment and swing the camera around to take gorgeous screenshots is a very welcome addition to the game.
Overall, The Falconeer is an exceptionally good indie title despite being rough around the edges in some parts.
The combat might be slightly repetitive and could use some further refinement but the deep lore, gorgeous art style and great soundtrack will keep you entertained for hours as you get through the game’s multiple chapters.
If you’re looking for an entertaining aerial combat game with lots of story to boot, The Falconeer is highly recommended.
FULL DISCLOSURE: The Falconeer was reviewed on PC via Steam. A review code was provided to Hypertext by the game’s publisher.