REVIEW: ‘Falcon Age’ Is A Decent Adventure (Switch)

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Falcon Age

Outerloop GamesFalcon Age finally hits Nintendo Switch. Falcon Age is a single-player, action roleplaying game. You play as Ara, a young woman, imprisoned on a planet colony run by automated colonizers. In Falcon Age, you learn about your heritage and culture as a falcon hunter. It’s up to you and your falcon to liberate your colony and drive off your mechanized oppressors.

As I played Falcon Age‘s story, I was unfortunately uninterested. I was excited to see the game hosted a cast of black and brown characters, Ara being one of them. However, I was not feeling the narrative of being enslaved and having to fight back my oppressors. I have seen this narrative a lot in media lately. But, what kept me glued to the game was the world Outerloop created, coupled with the soothing music while exploring this seemingly desolate planet and the hyper and intense music that loops in when you’re in combat.

While all the characters may be black and/or brown, I gravitated to Ara and her badass Aunt. Ara is this eager and headstrong young woman wanting to learn about her culture as a Falcon Hunter and help take back their colony. Ara’s auntie is a hardened woman who by the way she speaks has seen and experienced some things. She is stern and stubborn with Ara but only because she sees the potential in her to do great things. This immediately reminded me of the women that raised me and continue to propel me forward into the person I am trying to be.

Despite not being pleased with the narrative, the game mechanics of Falcon Age were pretty great and who doesn’t want to bond with a falcon? You meet your falcon while in a prison camp and its mother tries to fend off a sentry bot trying to get rid of the nest. In the scuffle, the mother falcon dies and the baby falcon is badly hurt. Ara nurses the bird back to good health and makes a friend while she toils away attending reorientation to become an upstanding citizen and mining ore. After months go by, Ara has had enough and escapes into the desert and is rescued by her aunt.

Your aunt tasks you with taking back an outpost and in doing so you will be able to name your bird. In Ara’s culture, naming your falcon is a great honor and, in order to do so, you have to perform a great feat to show that you can work in synergy with your falcon. It’s at this moment, Falcon Age drew me in.

Aunt and Falcon

You control Ara in a first-person fashion, focus on things in front of you, and can view your falcon flying overhead. You’re equipped with a baton that doubles as a whip to open chests and doors or to hold enemies in place. You can call your falcon back to you or command her to attack a target, all with the press of a button. While beating and whipping enemies, your falcon can distract other enemies or use items to defeat their enemies such as impact grenades. The flow of battle was extremely balanced and always fun. When the action is dull, you can either have your falcon continue to fly overhead or call it to your arm and walk with it. By holding a button, you can bond with your falcon with cute emotes, such as a high five or creating a shaped heart with your fingers and her talons.

As you continue the story, your falcon can access tools to unlock different abilities. These abilities vary from sonar to detect hidden mines in the ground to reinforced talons to dig things out of the ground. These tools also give your falcon a cool and unique look. You can also give your bird a bandana, which comes in a variety of colors, that slightly increases defense.

In most games, you have a life bar but in Falcon Age, your flacon has a life bar and several bars that are timers for power-ups given via snacks you’ve cooked for your companion. Ara, on the other hand, will close her eyes depending on the amount of damage she’s taken. She will regain consciousness if incoming damage stops or if Ara can interrupt the incoming attacks. I appreciated this because it didn’t clog up the HUD and I was still able to keep track of who was hurt and who needed healing. While Ara simply needs to move away from her attackers to heal, your Falcon can be healed with either feeding her snacks you’ve cooked at a camp, taking out needles she’s been shot with, or having her drink from a save fountain.

While the game is beautiful in its world graphics and music and is relatively action-packed, Falcon Age does have its minor flaws. They’re not game-breaking flaws but, over the course of the game, I wish a few options were made available. As you progress along your adventure you will start getting a surplus of items: materials from defeating enemies, plants used to make snacks for your falcon, and items and tools used to dress up your falcon. Unfortunately, there is no sort button to clean up the mess that becomes your inventory. When you’re in the heat of battle, looking for grenades and healing items for your falcon is quite troublesome.

Another flaw is that there is no fast travel. Whenever you finish an objective, you have to trek back to the person that originally gave you said objective. This can be slightly overlooked because you can open up shortcuts by blowing up boulders blocking your way but trying to complete objectives in one fell swoop can be time taxing. Last but not least, you have to remember recipes when cooking snacks for your falcon. Sure they gave you recipe cards to look at and they’re pretty simple to read because they’re just pictures of the materials you need, but you’ll likely get quite a few recipes on your adventure to memorize.

Overlooking my issue with the narrative for Falcon Age, this single-player roleplaying action game has a pretty decent adventure with a relatable main character. Players will have a blast raising and bonding with their own falcon, and the combat feels very intuitive with the use of different items and snacks that you can feed your falcon. If you’re looking for something different, Falcon Age is definitely a game to add to your library.

Falcon Age is available for Nintendo Switch, Oculus Quest, PC, and PlayStation 4.

Falcon Age
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Overlooking my issue with the narrative for Falcon Age, this single-player roleplaying action game has a pretty decent adventure with a relatable main character. Players will have a blast raising and bonding with their own falcon, and the combat feels very intuitive with the use of different items and snacks that you can feed your falcon. If you’re looking for something different, Falcon Age is definitely a game to add to your library.