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Fugl Review

Relax and explore the skies in flying simulator, Fugl. Experience the sensation of flight as a shape-shifting bird who has the ability to absorb animal characteristics. With smooth and precise controls, soar through different environments or create your own personal experience with the avatar and landscape editors. Fugl is a game that truly captures the feeling of freedom in flight.

Fugl Review

Introduction

Fugl is a relaxing bird flying simulator by game developers, Team Fugl. The player takes control of a bird soaring through a beautiful landscape and is free to roam the skies. soaring through trees, skimming the top of lakes, or diving into deep caverns. There is no narrative, set goals or quests which encourages the player to explore and create your own story. Fugl is an early access game and the dev team actively updating and fixing game bugs.

Fugl is available on Steam for £6.99

Fugl Review - Flying through the desert

Story

Being that Fugl is a simulation style game it doesn’t feature a story. But if it did have a narrative where the player had to complete goals and challenges it would completely counteract the core feeling of freedom that it wants to evoke in the player. The player can decide where to go and what to explore and its this freedom of careless wandering that Fugl is celebrating. It’s only concern is with the fun sensation of flying.

Flying in Fugl can be experienced in different ways, when the game begins you start way above the landscape. You can breeze above jungles and not have to worry too much about hitting anything. This is a more relaxed style of play where you can carelessly wander the skies. However, as you drop down into the landscape you can feel the thrill of zooming and diving through forests and canyons. The design of the landscape almost beckons the player to take risks by having mysterious caverns, low archways and tight spaces where you can test your flying skills. I really like that the game encourages both these styles, it can be a meditative or thrilling experience.

Fugl Review - Mysterious lands to discover

Styles of flying are also affected by the type of bird you chose at the beginning of the game. As you explore the world, there are many different animals, fish, and birds you encounter. As you fly your bird near any creature, your bird will morph to match that creature's characteristics. For example, if you are flying in a rocky mountain and fly near a bear, your bird will become brown, heavier and bulkier. Absorbing different animal traits means you can experience different feelings of flight. When soaring past these animals it doesn’t interrupt the bird's movements, it all happens effortlessly.

gameplay

Choosing different styles of flying is further explored in the Fugl’s detailed bird editor. When you start to build up your catalog of animals you have interacted with, their characteristics get saved in the editor.  Changing the drag, lift, stroke power and agility of your bird will all affect how it flies. You can customise your bird to fly in your own personal flying style. This editor is also accompanied by landscape one, so you can really personalize your flying experience.

When playing Fugl there are several different ways you can control the bird. The game has full controller support or you can use your keyboard and mouse. Near the beginning of the game, I decided to play with the keyboard and I felt that controlling the bird was a little clunky and annoying. But, I soon realized that you can control the bird with only the mouse and this made it so much easier. Using the mouse makes the movements of the bird so much smoother, flying feels smooth and precise. If you do find yourself stuck in a cave or in a thicket of trees you can press Esc. for the menu and it will reset your bird in the sky. The game is designed so that everything happens effortlessly so that the player can really concentrate on their flying experience.

Fugl Review - Morph into different creatures

visuals and audio

Like the bird, the landscape also morphs into different areas, changing colors and environments the further you explore. There are five different areas to explore in the game (that I’ve discovered anyway) and they all have their own unique design. The beachy, jungle area has wide open spaces whereas the Arctic tundra area is more rocky and close together almost like a maze. Each area is pretty big and the landscape is procedurally generated meaning that you won’t find yourself flying around the same rock for ten minutes. Discovering new areas and searching for new animals is keeps the game interesting. However, sometimes if I fly my bird too far in a certain direction I do come across the games ‘boarder’, a black misty area where the game restarts, hopefully, this will be addressed before its full release.  The soundtrack in Fugl is minimalistic, music does prop up every now and then so I’m not sure if that’s the style the devs want or a bug. Adding some ambient or relaxing music would really help set the game’s atmosphere.

Fugl Review - Dive down into the mountains

conclusion

 Fugl runs like liquid, from the fluid morphing of the bird, the changing of the landscape and the smooth flight controls. It’ captures a feeling of incredible flow. The sensation of flying and exploration is fun to experience. Even though it's in early access, it feels pretty close to what the final product will be although some more prominent music would do a world of good. Full launch of the game is expected in around six months and I’m excited to see the game’s progress on this already enjoyable game.
PROS
CONS
+ The sensation of flying– Not enough music
+ Beautiful voxel landscapes– Reaching a misty landscape 'boarder'
+  Changing of bird and landscape all flows together
6.3
Fair

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