Platform: Xbox 360
Category: 3rd Person: Action, Platformer
Online Co-op: 2-4
Fairytales have been part of almost everyone’s life since they were just babies. The stories that have been told through generations have become pretty much a staple in the lives of so many. From those made popular by Disney to those that are only told through the kind words of a parent reading to a child at bedtime, the list of stories is far to exhaustive to really comprehend. Most recently, developer/publisher Playlogic has taken some of the beloved fairytales that we have come to know and put a strange and bizarre twist into a game called Fairytale Fights. I have been following the development of Fairytale Fights for awhile now and I have finally had the chance to play my review copy. I have to say that this is not your average fairytale and I didn’t mind what the final product had for me to play.
The visuals in Fairytale Fights are solid. I have to say that the art style really took me by surprise as I watched each and every level take on life. It is evident that Playlogic used their own interpretation, imagination, and spin on what a fairytale land looks like, from the environments to the in-game characters. It is nothing that I have ever imagined, and I am sure that a lot of you out there did not imagine this as well. It is definitely not a bad thing as the each level and character is original to say the least. The only downfall in this area is that you will find some levels repeat themselves one too many times in certain sections. It is as if they needed to give certain levels a little more length and they ‘recycled’ some previous sections from earlier on. It is not a deal breaker though, just something that I noticed
The game uses bright colors and it manages to pop off the screen throughout. I liked the world that I explored given that it was a very bright place that was about to get a crimson red makeover. Make no doubt about it, the claim that “a lot of blood will be shed” during a play through is no lie. Interestingly enough, the blood that is shed mixes with the cute theme of the game. It is not done in a realistic way and it melds in with the overall theme of the game. Just expect to see a lot of it as the back of the game box does note the ability to “spill over 10,000 gallons of blood and slide through multiple blood pools”.
I think the biggest complaint I may have in the visuals is that I wish I could have explored even more. You will find that there are some instances when you think you can go out and about only to get stuck on an invisible wall or item. Again, this is not a deal breaker and only something that you will have to become accustomed too.
Given the source material of the game, as well as the work that has gone into the visuals, I thought the sound would match up with most everything else. However I was disappointed to see, actually hear, that there was no voice over work. A game like this just screams for more voice, given that there are four separate characters that you can choose from. I think that by implementing individual voices for each character could have given this title even more charm. As for the sound effects, they manage to get the job done. From the environmental sounds (e.g. running water) to the sounds of weapons slicing, dicing and creating pools of blood that hit the ground, all is presented in a form that matches the visuals. As for the music, the best way to describe it would be that it fits the game and does not become an annoyance.
Fairytale Fights is a hack and slash affair through and through. There is no denying that the depth of such is limited given the nature of the game. There is a bit of a background story, but it takes a backseat to the violence that you unleash throughout the game. That being said, you take control of one of four fairytale figures, either Little Red Riding hood, Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk), Snow White or the Naked Emperor. It seems that these four characters aren’t as popular anymore and they want their fame back. By completing the various levels, and eventually killing the bosses, you try to bring back the level of popularity you once held. That my fellow readers is the basis for Fairytale Fights in a nutshell.
For those looking for a deep and meaningful experience, I think that you should be forewarned that you won’t find it here. That is not to say the game isn’t fun. It is just that you do not have to employ much strategy as you run through any of the 22 or so available levels. It is pretty much go from point A to point B while dispatching of the various enemies you come across. The control that is implemented for your task is pretty simple as you use the right analog stick to pull off any of the attacks you have available in your arsenal. Of course you can jump, run, block and even throw your weapon should you choose. All in all there is not a lot of complexity in pulling off your actions.
What is pretty cool is that the amount of weapons that you can find in the game is large and somewhat diverse. Now I didn’t count every weapon that I found or used, but Playlogic claims that there are over 140 weapons for to use in the game. These can vary from bladed, ranged, blunt, magic and even soft. I say soft as you can even use a pillow should you choose, yes, I said a freakin’ pillow. All in all my experience was such that I came across a lot of different ways to dispatch my foes and I had fun with the weaponry that I found.
Along with the mindless and somewhat enjoyable killing, you will find that Fairytale Fights offers up some platforming and minor puzzle solving throughout your adventure. You will find that this ranges from avoiding the perils and traps of each level, activating switches, and even figuring out how to get through some ‘puzzling’ areas now and then. It was nice that Playlogic tried to add a bit of variety here as it does manage to take away from what can be, at times, the monotony of killing enemies. Again, don’t expect any deep elements in this area, as this is far from any classic platformer (e.g. Mario-like) but at least there is an attempt to change things up a bit.
So everything doesn’t seem too bad up to this point, and to be honest it wasn’t, but as I played I noticed a couple of things that hampered my overall enjoyment of the game.
The first thing was that the camera hurt the gameplay more then it benefitted it. You really don’t have any control over the in-game camera, and at times it pulls back to the point where you are watching the action take place from way too far away. It could be hard to see what was happening on the screen at times, and should any of the actions require pinpoint accuracy (e.g. jumping from a platform to platform) it too was affected in a manner that didn’t help the whole experience. Here I think it would have been beneficial to allow me, or anyone else for a matter of fact, to zoom in or pan back at will. This would have made the game more enjoyable as I would have been able to see a lot more of the action, as well as been able to see where I needed go in terms of the platform aspects that needed some accuracy. Overall this problem was not seen throughout every part of the game, but when it did happen it could be frustrating on many different levels.
The only other thing that was really noteworthy to me, and something that I found wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as it could be, was the boss battles that I faced. The first few were ok, but as I progressed deeper into the game the remaining battles became a matter of repetition and time. Each boss that you come across is pretty tough, and you will find that they require a lot of damage before they are vanquished. This causes each boss battle to be time consuming and somewhat the same, given that you must hit them enough times before they are dead. Given how tough they are, you will die more often than not too, but in regards to this you do have infinite lives, so you can count your lucky stars here.
Fairlytale fights is more than a single-player affair too. Playlogic was smart and added a few multiplayer features to extend the life of this game. There is an arena mode where you and up to three other friends can battle it out for supremacy over each other. This is fun for a short time, and a nice diversion, but nothing that is really earth shattering in terms of gameplay. Overall the biggest plus here is the ability to play the story mode online with up to three other players. This is where the fun can really occur as it is always enjoyable to create havoc and blood on-screen with a couple of friends. I am a big fan of online cooperative play and this really does help the Fairytale Fights shelflife.
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