Song Of Farca Review: Under Surveillance

Song of Farca: Hack into crime scenes, look for evidence, analyze data, interrogate criminals, track suspects and deal with the consequences of your decisions.

Song of Farca is a detective/hacking experience, diving deep into the secret lives of the corrupt in the city of Farca. You play Isabella Song, a PI on house arrest, restricted to her apartment yet massively prolific in her work.

Not the conventional kind of PI that follows leads, knocks on doors and presses Johnny Public for clues as in games like Chicken Police, Isabella, or Izy, has the utmost freedom to explore the city without leaving her desk. She’s a hacker and a fantastic one at that.

Able to bypass security to take control of security cameras, drones, bots and mobile devices, she can uncover truths when the government officials turn a blind eye to the corruption. Is her work legit? It’s debatable. She’s essentially a vigilante for hire with the best intentions, but her actions don’t always lead her towards a righteous path.

Song Of Farca Review

There are multiple screens available at any one time as you see what Izy sees from her desk. She’s able to take and make calls to a growing contact list via her workstation, hack systems around the city to gather clues, and analyse data with her somewhat erratic A.I. Maurice. Considering her expertise in the field, she doesn’t cover her tracks well as both her full name and a live link with her telephone number show every time she calls a suspect or client.

Song Of Farca Review - Decadence
Decadence. Source: PR

A lot of the time Izy goes in blind with only a few leads. There will be a case file for her to explore, clicking on highlighted clues to expand the investigation further and perhaps use during her interrogation techniques. But without those clues, she’ll directly call up people and quiz them, often getting a hint or two where to go next, using multiple-choice dialogue.

Song of Farca balances each case with these dialogue exchanges and the interactive city map where you’ll unlock new clues. Whenever there’s a lead, a legend will show on the city where Izy can hack into the security and unlock some intel. Using fixed cameras and later drones to distract guards, workers, and even dogs, useful information can be obtained, with a fair share of (sometimes very difficult) puzzles providing pin codes for some devices.

There’s no threat of getting it wrong, but your choices do matter – not so much the interrogations in terms of mistakes. Once you’ve accumulated enough evidence, you can interrogate the suspect (or client) by clicking on the clues found during the surveillance mini-games. Once exhausting those, you’ll have to form your plan of attack and combine two statements from the facts you’ve obtained. If you choose something relevant to your investigation, the case will move forward, possibly resulting in you getting paid for your hard work, then moving onto the next job. If you make a mistake, you can repeat the combination of phrases until you get it right or revisit the clues if you’ve missed something.

It’s easy to get stuck into Song of Farca and forget your surrounding. I’d probably finished about two-thirds of the game in my first play as it’s so hard to put down, and the cases weave into the next effortlessly. 

Song Of Farca Review - An inside job?
An inside job? Source: PR

Methodical, Well-Written, The Future

Screenshots for the game can look a little cluttered – perhaps there’s too much going on, but that’s not the case at all. The screen real estate is well balanced, and there’s never a time where there’s so much going on that you’ll miss something. That said, in the top third of the screen will be a real-time depiction of Izy at her desk, and it’s easy to miss a few nuances with her dog pacing about or her apartment changing based on the time of year. Also, you can’t interact with the screen whatsoever if Izy isn’t at her desk.

Song of Farca is well written and concise. Set in the future, it’s very much on the ball with each character referred to their correct pronouns, and each person you encounter unique from the next. It’s all text-based without any voice acting, so the soundtrack can be a little dominant for the first ten minutes. That said, it’s a great collection and perfectly suited for the genre – there’s even a play icon to go through and change the playlist. It’s a mixture between Cyberpunk 2077 and Katana Zero.

The only issue I had with the game was the dialogue choices. There will undoubtedly be a time when you hit the wall and will repeat yourself a few times until you find the missing link. Engaging with suspects at this point can be mildly irritating as they’ll repeat the same response until you match the correct phrases or go back and uncover that one little clue you missed. 

Song Of Farca Review - Hack this caption
Hack this caption. Source: PR

I also wasn’t keen on a scenario where Izy attempts to get the perfect gift for someone. It’s nothing to do with the romance element (I like that), it was a little long-winded and abused her powers a little, and the options were a little restrictive. Without giving any spoilers, I could not select the gift combination due to the demented Siri wannabee Maurice stopping me. By the time of the conclusion, I had got it right the first time, but that intervening A.I. spoiled my surprise. These issues are both very minor, mind.

Developers, Wooden Monkeys, have done a grand job in telling a tale of corruption, deceit and knowing your limits when you start breaking your moral code. Song of Farca makes you feel like a hacker with, what one would assume, the same rhythm as a professional, effortlessly shifting back and forth into security systems as if child’s play. The real skill is understanding people and their motivations.