It was only a year ago that I held the mistaken belief that you can’t really mess up a 3D platformer – at least, not completely. I’ve played many throughout my life, including some rough ones that came about during the advent of 3D gaming. They weren’t great, sure, but they still offered a certain degree of fun that made them not seem like a complete waste of time.

Earlier in the year, Mail Mole challenged that attitude with a game that offered few moments of fun throughout my playthrough, but nothing could prepare me for Feathery Ears.

The story opens with a teenage school girl taking comfort in her sketchbook drawings, which consist of her two OCs: Misa, the feathery eared girl, and another creature called Coral who is basically unimportant. After an unfortunate accident with some paint cans, the poor girl is drenched in green paint – which transforms her into Misa. Due to the dreamlike nature of the world she ends up, it’s heavily implied that this is a daydream of sorts, rather than magical paint. The opening is presented really well with some adorable artwork to accompany the introduction of the story.

So begins the journey as our green-haired heroine progresses through this 3D dreamland collecting stars that will allow her to progress further. The game doesn’t inform you that you need to be collecting these, but it soon becomes apparent after collecting the first star causes the environment around you to shift. The more stars you collect, the more the goal area will raise / lower, eventually allowing you to make your way to the next area.

The first thing you will notice as you start playing the game, aside from the general ugliness of the environment, is just how well things seem to control. Her general movement feels decent, with the ability to wall jump, dive, and cling to ledges. There’s no tutorial, so you need to gradually figure this out on your own. This isn’t too much of an issue at first, but you will soon reach areas that are seemingly inaccessible. There are a few in this opening area that will likely cause issues, but the one that hit me the hardest was a circular pit.


After venturing into the pit to collect a star, I realised that the rock in the centre is just a tad too high to be able to jump upon. The pit is empty barring these central rocks, and there’s no double jump – so how do you reach it? By double jumping, of course! I’m not contradicting myself; the game has no actual double jump, but on the odd occasion you can pull off a very janky form of double jump by wall jumping on an inward sloping surface, which will cause here to jump and grab the ledge above rather than jumping away like normal. It’s weird and inconsistent, but it was the only way I could find to get up. Getting out of the pit may also cause issues too if you don’t realise that you can dive. You’ll need to run, jump, and dive to reach the outer ledge – something I only figured out after trawling the control options.

This is not the only time the game does this, however, with many levels introducing certain obstacles that work in weird counter intuitive ways. Lava kills you, but only after standing on it for a certain total duration. This means that chain running and diving across lava will help you reach certain areas. None of it makes any sense, and can only really be figured out by trial and error. All in all, the 3D platforming is rather obnoxious for the most part, not only due to the weird platforming that it requires to do, but also because many of the areas are built vertically. As you can imagine, failing down is something that you will end up experiencing more than once – and sometimes you fall a long way down. Think Getting Over It, except falling down was the whole point of that game.

There’s combat too, which juxtaposes itself against the frustrating platforming by being remarkably simple and easy. You have a sword that you can [attempt to] fire beams at enemies, but there’s no point wasting your time as you are completely invulnerable and enemies rarely get in the way barring a few occasions. It’s not very exciting either and has clearly been shoehorned in for the sake of variety. Perhaps your invulnerability was the developers way of acknowledging that the combat isn’t worth bothering with at all.

Thankfully the game gives you a little breather from the 3D sections by throwing in a couple of 2D sections throughout the game. I can’t say that they are particularly good, but they are certainly far less frustrating than the 3D areas. These 2D areas focus mainly on walljumping and jumping long distances, with the latter being poorly implemented due them appearing with no notice and causing you to unavoidably die due to allowing no reaction time. Aside from the many occasions the game does this, the rest aren’t so bad – although frequently there are parts where you are running in a straight line with little to do. These 2D sections are badly designed, but they’re at least comparatively more tolerable.
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I hate to be so negative about the game; after all, the game is clearly not shovelware, and the creator clearly had some kind of love for the project. The problem is that the game really lacks any fun,and strives to be as obnoxious as possible in order to create some semblance of difficulty. I did not have a good time at all with Feathery Ears, but I hope that the developers are able to use their experience to create something better- perhaps even a narrative tale using the beautiful artwork from the cutscenes. That artwork may be the only truly good thing about this game, and it’s a shame to see it wasted on this dreadful game.