There's something truly peaceful about being able to fly. And that's what Feather, the latest title from the Melbourne studio behind Screencheat and The American Dream, is all about.
It's billed as a meditative exploration game, featuring an orange bird as it flies around an island. It's perhaps most similar to InnerSpace than ABZU or Journey. There's no underlying narrative or encouragement on the game's part to push the player forward. Instead, it's all about flying around the world and enjoying the mechanics while listening to the relaxing soundtrack.
As you travel throughout the world, you'll come across Stargate-esque portals. Flying through one triggers a change in the soundtrack, with nine separate songs you can discover as you float around at will.
Relaxation is really the reward here, and it helps that the flying mechanics are solid. There's buttons for boosting your speed and counteracting the wind, as well as a button for doing sharp 180 degree turns if needed. Your feathered friend also speeds up if you're going down a steep incline, and parts of the surrounding environment will sway as you speed past.
It's incredibly chill, and the low-poly art style works a treat.
Different parts of the world have their own colour palette as well, which helps the sense of discovery a little. There's a high mountain peak covered in snow with a song of its own. Further down from there is a tunnel that connects to a waterfall and a series of caves. Parts of the cave are bathed in a vibrant purple, featuring in luminescent flowers and crystals that light up as you swish past.
Another section of the map is filled with apple trees. I was only about five minutes into my playthrough, so I was still flying around wondering whether there was some kind of unspoken story or other worlds to discover. Flying through an apple triggered an audio cue, so I spent ten minutes swooping and diving around the trees.
There was no achievement: Feather isn't that kind of game. But after circling back and exploring the nearby surroundings, I realised I'd spent about twenty minutes flying around, twisting through the leaves until the day/night cycle began to change.
It was a nice way to spend time on a Saturday.
The game also features "passive" cross-play multiplayer, which means you'll be able to see other players (in the form of birds) as they fly around the world. You can tweet at other birds as you fly past, and if you're nearby you can see their flight trails as you go past. There's no interaction beyond just flying in a pack, but that's also the point of Feather. It's like an interactive form of mindfulness, finding peace within the music and the sound of the wind.
Feather is currently available on Steam and the Switch, with the PC version selling for $14.50 and the Switch build costing a dollar less.