Humanity has kept their peace with other warring regions by forging peace treaties and keeping the dark forces at bay. However, a new and mysterious force is threatening the safety of everyone and everything in the world. This is the premise for Faeland, which is a brand new game from the Square Enix Collective. It is something which feels inspired by both the 8-bit and 16-bit generations and has the look of a 16-bit game.
The build I was playing placed me in the very beginning of the game, finding myself in a quaint little town. Being equipped only with a sword was kind of scary, slowly getting worried about what would attack me here. Upon entry of this town, I found myself challenged by the enemies and with the platforming, I had to perform. Slowly making my way through, I would find some chests with better gear for me and a shield. Only to slowly find the ring which an Innkeeper asked me to find. Returning back to the Innkeeper, he would thank me for retrieving the ring and sent me to the Elder of the Village for a specific task.
The gameplay of Faeland feels heavy, and each attack has a weight to it. Swinging the sword to attack enemies is the perfect feel of heavy, but tight. Upon pulling up my shield to block arrows, it immediately feels responsive. It feels slow and methodical, which is such a different feeling from other revivals of this generation. The sword, which was the only weapon I used during the demo, felt swift. Every strike was quick enough and pushed the enemies back just enough to feel not overwhelming. While I was at the demo, I often found it a little bit difficult. But the reason behind this is to have it feel like a game from that era.
Each environment in the build felt extremely unique, and the enemy design reflected this. In the tower, each enemy looked like they belonged there. Crows would swing from the tops of the roof, and vines would quickly pop-up from the ground below. And when I was in the underground stage of the demo, I found myself amongst these creatures who looked like they came straight from The Black Lagoon, and these slime balls who jump back and forth making a very disgusting squishing sound. The environments are very atmospheric, and the foregrounds to the game look incredible, making me feel like I really am in this environment, placing me in this fantastical world.
When I was speaking to Carlos Gonzalez, a developer from Tale Games, he wanted to make this game because it was his dream. He spoke of wanting to play this exact game as a kid, and so he sought to make it from the ground up. This is something which I really liked about his story, Faeland is something which does feel like it came straight out of a mind of a child, it is something which is fully realized.
The genre of the title is a Metroidvania, and you are able to see the visual progression of the protagonist. You get new armor, you get a new shield and it all is visible. This is something which made me feel the progression, it is a such a slight thing to notice, it is something which feels very rewarding. Another aspect of the game is the RPG element of it, which is something isn’t as present. But it is something which makes you find this sense of progression in the environment.
Faeland is a game which benefits from the genre it is inspired by and has the ambition and creativity of a modern game. The more time I spent with the game, the more I appreciated the environments and the foregrounds. It does bring some difficulty, but that is only to instill nostalgia from those from which it is inspired by.
Faeland is gonna launch on Kickstarter on April 17th.