Have you been looking for games that teeter towards cyberpunk-esque worlds? Or something more akin to LA Noire with myriads of mysteries waiting to be uncovered? If you answered yes to any of these questions, bonus if you said yes to both, then Song of Farca is perfect for you. Developed by Wooden Monkeys and Published by both Alawar Premium and East2West Games respectively, Song of Farca is a hybrid mystery/puzzle game that leans heavily into a prepubescent cyperpunk-ish world, and at once it entices the player with free-form gameplay loops and enthralling storylines. You play as Issabella Song, a Farcan immigrant convicted of an assault charge and placed under house arrest, and home is where you will remain throughout the game.
What stands out at first glance is the UI and the almost Faustian vow to immersion, what with having the player unable to interact with the UI if Isabella, Izy for short, is away from the computer; These little tidbits usually happen in between cases, and while it can be a little tedious at times, it usually does service to the protagonist as it shows what she does in her daily-life (it also gives us little interactions with Izy’s disabled pooch, Scooter, who is just plain out adorable). The UI is also split into two different screens, one being Izy’s apartment, and the other being her desktop, and that is basically what you will be perusing throughout your cases.
While Song of Farca doesn’t do anything revolutionary with its gameplay loop, there is something particularly captivating about it. The UI rarely holds your hands during investigations, and it encourages to investigate freely (to an extent, of course), which allows the main character, Izy, to follow up on leads, analyze chemicals, and even delve deep into internet presence of a suspect in whatever order they desire. These little aspects of the game allow one to immerse themselves as a freelance investigator, and how you approach an investigation could lead to some serious consequences. For example, there was a specific case that at first seemed like a grounded, innocuous job soon turned into life-or-death scenarios for two side-characters due to my reckless approach, and it landed me in some hot water. This type of storytelling is incredibly rare in the contemporary market, as choices usually end up with the same scenarios, slightly different dialogues, but SoF does an incredible job at distinguishing itself in terms of writing, as it feels like choices do matter. This is primarily evidenced by the latter storyline I had just spoken about as an entirely different person would have been killed if I had approached the case dissimilarly.
Another aspect of Song of Farca is the puzzle/hacking element, and going forward, one must know that there is nothing really animated outside of Izy’s apartment. The hacking/puzzles take an isometric view to a series of cameras, tablets, distractions, routers, and various other interactable to assist Izy in collecting information, following up on leads, and/or finding incriminating evidence. While these aren’t necessarily too enthralling, they add a welcome layer to the game, and it keeps your brain moving throughout an entire case. There is also a minor degree of code-breaking, as finding out someone’s desktop password usually involves a riddle for you to solve.
While I have praised SoF thoroughly, there is some minor nit-picks I have with the game. While the storytelling is altogether amazing and well-put together, some dialogue options just seem a little too on the nose, or even unmerited, but these are very few and far in between.
The final aspect of Song of Farca that really stands out is the music; I cannot stress this enough, but the soundtrack is incredible. The overall ambience and subdued, yet punctuated, music further drive the player into this state of immersion, as it just feels like they themselves are behind the computer; with their headphones in, drinking whatever peaks their vice, while hunching over trying to piece together a puzzle.
If any of these aspects seem interesting to you, I highly recommend this game, as I score it a solid 9.5/10 (It would have been more if there were more things to look at other than the apartment, such as actually seeing security footage). Song of Farca is a standout, unique, and mesmerizing experience to any mystery-oriented fanatic, while also being accessible to new players, and it is absolutely one you do not want to miss.
Check Out the Song of Farca Trailer:
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Whether it be diving deep into uncharted oceanic depths, wading through knee-deep pools of demon blood, or taking a leisurely walk through a fictional western frontier, I am always eager to explore previously unknown sectors of the creative space, impatiently overturning every stone begging to be flipped over. Dabbling in both speculative and realistic fiction, with a sprinkle of journalistic fanaticism, I enjoy any game that displays narrative magnificence, or if it's just plain fun!