Video Game Wednesdays criteria include a) being electronic in nature and b) being a game
Fantasy Life was released for the 3DS last year. I’m lazy, and didn’t get around to purchasing it until recently.
Fantasy Life reminds me of a weird medieval/steampunk cross between The Sims, Animal Crossing, and Dungeons and Dragons, with a look similar to Professor Layton. (Not surprising, as both Professor Layton and this are made by the same company, Level-5.) It’s actually a good mix, oddly enough. The graphics are actually pretty good, and the storyline is relatively interesting so far.
Moving onto gameplay and the game itself… this has one of the best character creations I have ever seen for a 3DS game. Usually, it’s a matter of picking hair color/style, eye color, and skin tone from five or six different options… not here. You have dozens of color options and styles for everything from your hair to your nose. I think it may be nicer than the Mii Maker, despite the fact that Mii Maker allows *almost* free placement, and this doesn’t. The only failing is that you can’t give your avatar freckles. (Minor point… unless you want a look-alike avatar.)
At the end of the character creation, you choose a name and your Life. I would have liked some “difficulty” guidance here. You pick one of twelve Lives, (aka character classes,) and may change to different Lives during the game, mastering all 12 if you want. Here’s where I would have liked some difficulty guidance. My first character was a wizard (which I commonly play in D&D type games). Having never played this game before, I found it very difficult to figure out the battle system with a character who uses multiple different attacks, rather than just mashing one button over and over. I quickly got frustrated and started a new game. (Side note: they have three game slots per game copy. I still have the wizard in slot 1.) My new character is a carpenter. So much easier – until you get into a battle. I was thoroughly pounded by a group of pirates that I was forced to attack as part of the main storyline. However, making money with her is incredibly easy – just buy up a ton of oak or pine planks and make quality furniture and tools, selling them for a healthy profit. Still, I would have appreciated a “This Life is good for beginners” tip or something. A lot depends on your play style as well, but I think one of the crafting Lives (carpenter, blacksmith, cook, maybe alchemist?) is probably a good starting game.
Once your character is done, the game opens with a short text intro. It tells you that your story is about to begin, you’re a hero – typical RPG stuff. Fun! You are quickly thrown into learning about your class. This is the first thing the game does. Once you reach the first level in your Life, the main story begins. I won’t spoil it, but it reminds me of Majora’s Mask in a way. Except it’s less dark and more cheery. Butterfly (your main companion) is a little annoying at times, but rather amusing. And yes, Butterfly is a butterfly.
The last couple of things not mentioned are requests from townspeople (quests) and Bliss (how happy you are). The quests earn Dosh (your currency) and items you would otherwise have to buy. However, not all requests are completable by all classes, simply due to whether you can craft the item or fight the enemy required. Despite this, I’ve been able to complete quests I normally wouldn’t by completing other quests that give me the item needed for the difficult quest. It works! As for Bliss, you gain it from some quests and parts of the storyline, along with milestones such as cash earned and time played. Bliss gets you bonuses that really help out (such as being able to ride a horse).
I’ve only made it to the second main town, Port Puerto, and I’m already really enjoying it. It’s not overly challenging and not overly frustrating (other than the initial learning curve). It’s relatively clean in terms of content as well – I haven’t noticed any gore or profanity. Of course, at E10+, it’s not going to be horrific. I’d recommend for 11 and up.
Overall, I really like this. It’s got a multiplayer mode I haven’t tried yet, I’m still living in my cubicle of an attic room, and I don’t think I’ve even really made a dent in the storyline. Definitely worth the cost. Only bad thing I have to say is that it could be a little frustrating on replays when you’ve seen the storyline and you just want to get through the (admittedly) long conversations, as there’s very little you can do to speed through it.
Have fun gaming!