A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Eagle Flight is a VR action game that simulates the life of an eagle in a future version of Paris abandoned by man and given over to animals. The beasts live mostly in harmony, but the birds in the sky sometimes get into fights, diving and screeching at one another. Defeated birds burst into clouds of feathers. While there's little iffy content, the action is at times unforgiving and could cause some younger players frustration as they repeatedly fail missions. Parents should also be aware that virtual reality equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 due to the potential impact the technology may have on younger players’ physiological development.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
EAGLE FLIGHT gives players the experience of what it’s like to be an eagle, from the moment it emerges from its egg through learning how to fly up to finding another eagle with whom to mate and begin a family. The action is set in a far future version of Paris where humans are gone and animals have reclaimed the land. The player’s eagle flies high above it all, gradually staking out its territory by establishing several nests in the city’s highest peaks. Story missions involve flying specific routes through floating hoops, collecting nesting feathers and jumping fish by flying into them, and sometimes engaging in combat with other birds, including crows and falcons. As players complete more objectives and earn more stars, they’ll unlock additional missions, many of which are optional. Beyond the story mode players can engage in free flight to explore the city or try a competitive online multiplayer mode where teams of three players try to pick up a dead bunny and take it back to their nest.
Is it any good?
Sometimes it’s not quite enough for a game to rely on just one exciting play mechanic. The act of soaring about Paris in Eagle Flight is loads of fun. Tilting your head to steer and nodding to dive or ascend is perfectly intuitive and feels terrific. The immersive nature of virtual reality makes it feel like you truly are flying around the city’s overgrown streets, darting through broken windows and between the legs of giraffes. Problem is, that’s about all you do. And it gets old before the game ends. There are only so many hoops you can fly through and so many nesting feathers you can collect before you start looking for something else. There’s even repetition in the repetition. Each mission is on a strict timer, forcing you to fly as fast as you can to earn only one or two stars, and there are no checkpoints. Crash once and it’s over. You’ll need to try again from mission start. And again. And again.
Multiplayer is more compelling, but it offers weirdly little variety. It demands a surprising amount of teamwork and strategy -- flying under the canopy with allies on either wing while taking the bunny back to the nest is a good tack -- but there’s only one mode, no parameters to tweak, no real sense of progression. The lack of depth and range of things to do and modes to play would be more forgivable in a $12 or $15 game but not in something that’s nearly full-priced. Its great flying mechanics make Eagle Flight an early VR game worth trying, but smart families will wait for the inevitable price drop.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. Virtual reality is by its nature more intense and physically draining than traditional media, so how long does it take before you feel tired -- or even exhausted -- while playing VR games? Is this a good indication to take a break?
Talk about differences between the animal world and human society. While playing Eagle Flight did you ever feel lucky to be a human rather than an animal? What sorts of dangers and problems do animals face that people don’t? Is there anything about being an animal that might be better than being human?
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