Falcon Age from OuterLoop Games is a first-person action adventure game that features a female protagonist named Ara and her adorable falcon sidekick. While it’s impossible to not overload on the cuteness of a bird that you can dress up and fist bump, the game also offers a poignant message of embracing the past to survive the future.
Falcon Age Is More Than Just A Cute Pet Simulator
Falcon Age can be played entirely in virtual reality on the PSVR using either the DualShock 4 or two Move controllers. There are several options to make the VR experience nausea-free, including a teleport mode with blink snap turns. If you absolutely cannot handle VR, the game is also playable in non-VR on any standard or Pro PS4.
My review playthrough of Falcon Age consisted of a mix of both VR and non. The game performs beautifully in both modes. I didn’t experience any motion sickness while playing the game in VR, but I rarely do. I do appreciate the option for both because as much as I love the PSVR experience, I often feel claustrophobic being tethered to the headset. Plus, my cat of destruction chews wires and already destroyed one PSVR. So, after each use, I’m forced to put the headset and all of its cables away from the cat.
The controls in Falcon Age are simple and intuitive. I mostly used the DS4, but I highly recommend using the Move controllers when playing in VR.
The Robot Revolution Is Real
At the start of the game, you find yourself imprisoned after your land has been invaded and overtaken by robots. The cruel and unfeeling machines have forced Ara into slave labor to harvest the land’s resources. As she sits alone in her cell, she befriends and cares for a mother falcon and her baby, who have built a nest in her window.
Ara comes from a long line of falcon hunters, which has become a lost art especially since the birds of prey are a major threat to the AI colonizers. After several days and an unfortunate event, Ara and the baby falcon escape from the prison. She turns to her tough but well-meaning Auntie who teaches her how to hunt, craft, and fight in the tradition of her ancestors.
Falcon Age Does Not Have Micro-Transactions
Once you have proved to be worthy, Auntie sends you out to help the rebellion take back the refineries and set up outposts to rebuild the land which will help clean up the polluted mess it has turned into. Along the way, you will meet several interesting villagers that provide information and items to help you and your falcon friend, who has now become a majestic adult bird. However, if you want to keep your falcon a baby, there’s a mask that stunts her growth. All items in Falcon Age are obtained through gameplay; there are no micro-transactions.
There are many items for the falcon such as various masks (mine wore a cat mask most of the game), cute props, and items that help you take down the menacing robots. If your bird becomes injured, you can heal her by removing needles that the turrets shoot at her or by affection in the form of those super-cute fist bumps and petting that you have probably already seen in GIF form. For more severe injuries, you can cook up some food that will heal her.
Ara is armed with a baton, that also has a whip-like upgrade, used in battle, opening things, and moving items. Some of the tougher enemies require an Ara and falcon co-op beat down. Another cool feature in Falcon Age is the inclusion of Imprint Mode, which allows you to enjoy the game without engaging in combat. The enemies will not notice your presence. However, you can still smash them to pieces if you want to. For you trophy hunters, it’s still possible to get the Platinum even in Imprint Mode.
Falcon Age Is A Big Game With A Small Price Tag
Falcon Age retails for twenty dollars. I don’t usually comment on price in a review, but the game offers so much for so little. It’s obvious the developers put a lot of thought and love into the game. Little things were so endearing and precious. If you give the falcon a sketchbook, her drawing as an adult is way better than the baby falcon’s art style.
From a technical perspective, I noticed very few glitches or bugs. The only faults I could find was that sometimes there was strange coloring or shading issue in the non-VR mode, and I occasionally got stuck in places where I shouldn’t have, but it never lasted long or deterred from the gameplay.
In many ways, Falcon Age very much reminded me of a smaller scale Horizon Zero Dawn. As a female gamer who has been playing games my entire life, I wish I had characters to play like Ara and Aloy growing up. In fact, Falcon Age takes diversity to a new level by smashing the stigma of featuring characters that do not look like the average gamer, or at least what the industry thinks the average gamer looks like.
In short, the game is fun for all ages with an important underlying message that is never heavy or preachy. If your eyes don’t well up with tears at the ending, you might be a robot.