Song of Farca introduces several gameplay into one, allowing you to search information for people online and offline. It’s an investigation game that is focused on the story.
Genre: Branching Narrative
Developer: Wooden Monkeys
Publisher: Alawar Premium,
Release date: 22 Jul, 2021
Song of Farca sets in the state of Farca, an imaginary island that is still connected to the rest of the world. It focuses the story on the life of a private investigator whose job is to find information about people online.
Song of Farca has unique visuals. As a game that takes more action on what is happening behind the monitor, the display is split into two parts, showing the real-life of our main character and the monitor screen. Since you are not doing much in real life, it doesn’t come as a surprise to see that it got a smaller portion, although it still shows what you need. You’ll see what the character is doing, whether it’s just making a coffee to start the day or being emotional over what is happening.
The world behind the monitor screen is where the action kicks in. Despite having a different interface from the usual operating system, the simple interface makes it easy to use – important features are gathered in one place not to overwhelm you with the amount of information. The font choice also does a good job to make the text easier to read. Moreover, the decision to use 3D models that look like 2D with their textures seems to pay off – it gives the game a unique look.
Some characters can be confusing at first because of the first and last name basis. As someone who grow up in a place where such things don’t matter, having someone being called with their first and last name, especially from the same person, makes me think that they refer to two different characters. Moreover, I didn’t recognize some characters that are mentioned even after playing the game a few times, so there is a chance that the game also mentions a name that doesn’t exist.
As a game that focuses on story branching, your decision doesn’t affect much to the main story. It will treat previous events as if it never exists and switch the important characters that are not on the scene. You might get different responses on certain chapters based on your previous choices, but even that has a hole in one of the options. The only thing that matters is your choice in the last chapter, letting you choose between two endings. There isn’t much to tell though – the ending is told similar to Orwell: Keeping an Eye On You (our review), where you are presented with articles on what’s happening.
While it doesn’t have a strong plot as a whole, the game makes it up with its dialogues. The writing has feelings into it, letting me absorbed into it as I played. Each character has a unique personality and the portrayal of the main characters’ emotions on the screen makes me sympathize with her even more.
The gameplay is mainly divided into three parts: making phone calls, investigating people’s tracks, and hacking locations for clues. The investigation part is the simplest one where you have to search for someone on the web, in which the game will automatically give you 1-3 results with a highlighted yellow text for you to click. The information will then be added to that person’s data to be used later.
You’ll spend most of your time doing the hacking minigame. It’s a simple minigame where you can hack cameras and drones in a single click, allowing you to search for clues. Since some spots are guarded, you also need to distract them to traverse the area without being seen. This can be achieved by hacking other possible electrical appliances, making them focus their attention somewhere else.
You can get more information through phone calls. While some people will give information for free, others might require you to shove previously collected information to make them spill the beans. It’s usually a straightforward one where you need to figure out the right combination to make them talk, although some have decoy answers where you can fail the task if you present them with wrong information.
The game has unique puzzles. They are usually in the form of four-digit codes that can be found from the clues spread in the same location. You mostly need to figure out what the developer meant to solve it, but it was satisfying to solve them after all that thinking. Sadly, there is no hint system for this and some puzzles must be solved to get the important clues.
Length and Difficulty
I finished the game in 8.4h. The rest of my playtime (26.7h) was spent figuring out the achievements, which require me to play the game 4+ times. Moreover, some achievements don’t grant on my first playthrough despite fulfilling the achievement conditions while others are just plain annoying to get. The fact that you have to deal with the slow dialogue speed on your subsequent playthroughs also doesn’t help either – my brain becomes numb after all that waiting.
The game itself might be repetitive to some people, but I found them to be quite entertaining. You’ll be tasked with a case in each chapter, and while you might have to revisit some areas, the challenge will be different since people and objects are positioned differently. They are still easy to solve except for the challenging puzzles, and even if you have trouble with that, the developer gives a lot of hints in the Steam forum. I still believe it would be better if they also incorporated the hints in the game, though.
The game has issues when you try to do actions quickly. There was a time when I had to restart the game since I provided a clue when someone is talking and another time when a drone that I hacked keep on throwing errors since they are moving in the same direction as another person.
Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
The game does a good job with its unique gameplay. I was quite disappointed when I learned that it doesn’t play like Orwell: Keeping an Eye On You and focused more on the hacking part, although I ended up enjoying it all the same. The repetitiveness doesn’t bother me since I found that the layout and challenges are different in each area. However, I didn’t like how the game doesn’t encourage you to read articles, whether from the search or the in-site clues, and focuses more on the yellow highlighted text instead, which can also be read later.
Overall, I’m enjoying my time playing Song of Farca. I always liked investigation games where I have to search for clues, and the game does a good job with its simplistic gameplay. As a game that focuses on a lot of texts, it keeps on switching between dialogue and action to avoid you from getting overwhelmed with the texts. Some dialogues might be confusing at first, but it doesn’t affect my enjoyment as a whole. However, the game is best to be played once, and replaying the game several times to get all achievements might ruin your experience – the time that you spent to replay it doesn’t worth the slightly different dialogue that you will get.