We can all agree that falcons are pretty cool. What’s even cooler is the notion that certain folks out there can utilise these majestic creatures for hunting purposes, coaxing the bird into their hand with just a simple whistle. If you happen to see someone with a falcon attached to their hand and rocking a tweed flat cap, you know they’re a cut above your average human.
We don’t all have the time nor the means to practice falconry in real life, so thankfully Falcon Age is the next best thing. Originally released as a VR title, the game transitions successfully over to the Nintendo Switch, albeit losing a few mechanics along the way and retaining a few others that would objectively be far more satisfying to execute in VR rather than a standard control scheme.
You play as Ara, a young woman who escapes confinement after a lengthy stretch of time performing manual labour. She befriends a young falcon in the process, taking it with her as she starts her journey towards freedom. Right from the start, you’ll quickly grow quite fond of the falcon, whose absurdly cute design is immediately endearing. The game allows you time to get to grips with the falcon mechanics before letting you loose on the world, teaching you how to feed your companion, bond with it and use it for hunting/combat purposes.
As you head out into the open world, your falcon grows to full size (although you can switch back to the baby version at any point if you wish); from here, you can interact with the world’s inhabitants and work with your falcon buddy to liberate outposts dotted around the environment. The gameplay mechanics here are pretty great, as not only will you need to utilise your falcon to take out flying robots, but you yourself can get in on the action too with a handy baton/whip tool.
Not only will you get involved in some pretty dicey combat sections, but you’ll also need to take part in some more relaxed activities such as resource gathering and planting crops. As you progress through the game, you’ll also unlock accessories for your falcon, including sunglasses and bow ties; it’s really adorable, and we always felt a twinge of remorse whenever our companion needed tending to after a particularly nasty injury.
Our pals over at Push Square reviewed Falcon Age for PlayStation VR, and mentioned that the game is significantly diminished outside of VR; that still rings true here. There are certain features, such as the ability to casually pet your winged friend with your free hand, that simply aren’t possible on the Switch. On its own, Falcon Age for the Switch is still a fun experience, but when held up against its VR sibling, it’s an objectively lesser game. Nevertheless, we’d still recommend giving it a shot if only for its remarkably unique premise; after all, it’s probably the closest most of us will get to owning a pet falcon.