Review: Fantasy Life (3DS)
Living in a world where you can change your life on a whim is something that people might actually want, however, it’s not very practical on planet Earth. But if you’re living in Fantasy Life, it’s not only possible, it’s embraced brilliantly. Nintendo really struck gold with Fantasy Life. Its child-like feel might not appeal to many people but make no mistake, this is not your average kiddie game. This game is a mash-up of an RPG and life simulator, think Balder’s Gate meets Harvest Moon. It’s a brilliant and complimenting combination of two genres in a gorgeous animated setting. It’s not all glitter and glam though as the game does fall short in some instances, such as the plot. The story of Fantasy Life is obvious and unimaginative with simple plot twists which you can spot a mile away. There are a few surprises, but nothing too crazy and the story never really hits a high point. It does get a little bit interesting right at the end, but then the game ends. Like you’d expect from an RPG life sim, the first thing you get to do before the story kicks off is create your little avatar. You have a few customisable options to select from to create that awesome little character of yours. Once you’re happy with the look you get to move onto the game. As a human who’s just come of age, you’re required to pick a life. Your life is basically a job, for example a magician, a miner, an angler or wood cutter. Once you’ve selected a life – which you can change later on – you can truly begin your journey through Reveria. As a fledgling <insert which life you chose> magician (which is what I picked) you’re expected to learn the tricks of the trade. You head off to your life master in order to learn more about your new life. During the beginning parts of the game, you stumble across two dastardly devious men arguing with a talking butterfly, Flutter. You rescue this damsel in distress and you quickly become her companion. Her presence is very important as she’s basically your voice, a mission giver and pivotal to the storyline. The game is progressed by completing specific missions, namely Flutter missions. Once all Flutter missions are complete, and you gain the required amount of bliss (a point system), you unlock the next chapter in the story. That’s not all; each Life contains its own set of missions, but depending on what you are, they can differ from killing specific enemies to creating different items. Then you get a third set of missions which are given to you by the various citizens of Reveria. These missions range from killed X amount of these enemies to bring me X amount of such and such – typical RPG padding nonsense, but it’s a decent way to get rarer items. While the plot of the of the game is lame, it’s what happens after it when the game really starts to shine. The simulator aspect of the game is brilliant and the life mechanic brings exceptional depth to the game. Most, if not all, the lives complement each other in some way. For example if you’re a fisherman and you catch a really rare fish, you can change to a cook and use your newly caught fish in a recipe. As a miner you can dig for minerals which you can use in alchemy or turn into armor as a blacksmith. Wood cutters provide wood for carpenters, and so on and so forth. Resource gathering can be a pain sometimes, but when you create a top quality item, the time and energy was worth it. Making anything, be it a potion or a boiled egg, gives you experience, so you can play the game any which way you really want. It’s not particularly novel, but it’s great fun and super addictive. For those who choose to be fighters instead, the battling happens in real-time, so there’s no mucking around with random encounters. It also happens to be very easy; the targeting system is automated and you can switch between enemies. As a magician I could change between elemental spells to attack specific weaknesses. Your companions fight automatically when you enter attack mode, AKA take out your weapon. The more you attack or use your abilities, the quicker you’ll master that role. Mastering a role is no easy feat, which makes you want to master it so badly. And with 12 lives to choose from, you can easily spend dozens of hours playing this game. The story is pretty short, I managed to beat the game within 15 hours, but I did fiddle with a lot on the way and I also spend a lot more time after beating it, so you’ll definitely get quite a lot of play time with this game. There are other downsides to this game. For starters, it’s a schelp trying to get from one place to another and dashing to get to places a little quicker costs you SP (which is your mana). Secondly, the Flutter missions are boring and with no way marker it’s a little difficult to figure out where you’re supposed to go. Thirdly, you can’t select any companions to join you while you’re on a story chapter. It’s not a massive bummer as you should be beefy enough to tackle the game on your own, unless you decided to play the game as a tailor… With 12 lives to master and an entire world to plunder and excavate, Fantasy Life really is a game that brings your fantasy to life. Live your dream of becoming a world class wood cutter, a brilliant alchemist, the best cook in the world or even the strongest Paladin in all the lands. It’s not a perfect game, yet it’s a game I’d go back to in a heartbeat.