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Hærfest is a freeware student project focused on the exploration of a 3D world using a first-person perspective. It casts the player in the form of a bat, a flying little hero who sets out on the classic journey of rescuing a maiden: a human girl. The story behind their bond, why the girl is gone and what the strange creatures inhabiting the world are, is revealed gradually through fragments of her diary that are scattered around and cut-scenes presented as pages with drawings in a book.

As a bat, players can fly around using the mouse and a single key to flap the wings. By timing it right, it is possible to get a steady rhythm and explore the world in glide flight. As a feeble creature, every contact with an object, a tree or another creature costs health, so careful navigation is required. Damage, shown as a glowing red edge around the screen, can be restored by staying away from danger for a while.

The game consists of three large, connected levels. It starts inside a house and that part acts largely as a tutorial to get familiar with the controls. The second level is the largest one, with an extensive forest that can be explored freely in all directions, with an atmosphere and scattered landmarks somewhat reminiscent of The Path. The third and final level offers another wide area, but serves mainly for the final confrontation to rescue the maiden.

The bat has no real means of attack or defence. The only main action is Sonic Screech, a sonar sound shown visually as a wave that lights up objects in the environment using shades of pink and purple to reveal their position. This is mandatory to explore the very dark environment, but can also be used to temporarily scare away other animals. During his journey the little hero meets spirits he needs to convince to help him. They provide him with different abilities, such as a stronger sonic screech and a speed boost. Performing these requires energy that can be restored by eating moths. The amount of available energy storage can be increased by catching lumoths.

Much of the game is spent exploring the environment in flight. The forest is very dark and the player can discover many areas that hold clues. Places where moths gather are shown with a blue outline. There is however no time to explore at a relaxing pace. Similar to the werewolf in Ecstatica there is the constant threat of a much more powerful and undefeatable hunter who constantly chases the player. The presence of the owl is shown with hues of red and there are only few places in the forest where the little bat can be left alone for a while, with the addition of some other enemies. The owl can be scared off with sonic screech for a few seconds, but there are also a number of traps, highlighted in green, where it can temporarily get stuck when the bat lures it there.


Hærfest Windows Introduction to the third and final level
Hærfest Windows Title screen
Hærfest Windows Without sonic screech it's almost impossible to see where you are going.
Hærfest Windows Exploring a church and the graveyard.

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Alternate Titles

  • "Haerfest" -- Alternate spelling

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Related Web Sites

  • Hærfest (official game website where the game can be downloaded, free of charge)
Sciere (833120) added Hærfest (Windows) on Nov 22, 2009