Thursday, 19 February 2015

Review: Fantasy Life

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Level 5
Genre: Adventure, RPG
Players: 3
Release Date:
27th Dec 2012 (JPN)
24th Oct 2014 (USA)
26th Sep 2014 (UK/EU)
The best way to describe Fantasy Life is a real time action RPG from level-5. This came was supposed to come out 2009 in Japan but was delayed and kept in development till 27th December, 2012. This mean't they had to enhance the specifications for DSi to 3DS quality. 
Playing Fantasy life is a different experience from a JRPG and resembles Animal Crossing but with more story and depth to the game - also the online capabilities differ greatly. Missing out the art and CGI counterparts of the Japanese RPG the game has a lot of big Japanese names involved.  In addition to Level-5, legendary character artist Yoshitaka Amano (Art of Final Fantasy) and Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy composer). Most notably, Fantasy Life is the final game developed by Brownie Brown — before changing name to 1-UP Studios  a company that favoured by most JRPG fans’. 
The game is set in a medieval setting, where among a dragon threatening the land, you work with a a new race called 'Plushies' (not cuddly toys apparently)  to expand your skills as an adventurer. In addition to gaining XP and earning 'Dosh' (the in-game money) for vanquishing monsters and cows, each Life has its own series of tasks which make you a wholesome character.
When enough stars are earned, the player ranks up in the Life they are currently living and gaining access to new skills, presents (awarded by a butterfly) or recipes that also mostly remain usable when a character switches Lives which is key to the game's point. You can pick the job of a warrior, seamstress, farmer, carpenter, blacksmith, mage and more - the full experience of Fantasy Life lies in developing your craft 
The gameplay isn't especially difficult and great for new RPG gamers and retro, button presses are used to attack and likewise to use skills. I chose seamstress/tailor as my first life and to complete clothes tasks i simple moved left or right and press 'A' consecutively within a time limit. 

Fantasy Life is more of a customisation game and you don't heavily rely on numbers and statistics. Super cute Gear can be attained from Nintendo codes which they post up on twitter regularly.  
Part of the main story you complete your skill tasks to obtain 'Bliss' which unlock special prizes, part of the main plot was stumbling across a talking butterfly 'Flutter' she is the one who measures your bliss and awards you prizes from pets to more space in your inventory and I highly recommend making your bag bigger - as you end up picking up lots of items to trade.
Fantasy Life’s art has a hand drawn cartoon which works well with the 3D There is a minor visual issue with the perspective, which is midway between a top-down and a side view — combined with the relatively low resolution of the 3DS — means that details lose high definition but I am happy to enjoy the environment art.

There are rarely any cinematic moments in the game which is a shame, any there are used to advance the game's story. The game ios light hearted and has lots of humorous one liners in the game and lovable characters. 
It should also be noted, though its level of attraction will vary, that this isn't an exclusively single-player adventure. Fantasy Life’s multi-player allows players to get together locally or on-line in groups of up to three and accomplish the same tasks and challenges as in single-player mode (although it is not possible to advance the main story in multi-player). With the variety of Lives to live and the range of tasks to perform, any trip to any kingdom with just about anyone is sure to be productive in some way — and you might just get the right help to finally defeat that challenge monster that’s spent far too long in your Life list.
On-line facilities include  StreetPass to have new friends enter your land carrying gifts which you can only obtain after talking to them several times (they are in different areas of the game). Link mode also allows you to send your on-line friends messages (both group-wide and private) whilst not playing the game together.

Final Thoughts

Fantasy Life is a break from Animal Crossing, doing mini games and tasks which has some plot to follow kept me more engaged than I expected. Learning new aspects such as capturing mercenaries and handing them in for bounty. I recommend you choose a fighting type to begin with or else collect money gets a bit challenging. The art is charming coupled with a great soundtrack to make a Westernise RPG with anew concept making the game playable more than once.
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