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Fantasy Life Review

Both me and my daughter have been really hooked on Animal Crossing lately, well I say me, but it's more my daughter forcing me to play it and earn her some money. Of course this resulted in my not wanting to give up the 3DS XL when it was her turn, which is a little mean I guess. Anyway, in order to stop this addiction it was time to switch to a new game, so step forward Fantasy Life, the latest game from Level 5. Could this crush our new found fondness for Animal Crossing or would we be going back to our job as mayor?

Fantasy Life for the most part is a life sim, but it's also an RPG. In the game you select a role in life, be that a wizard, paladin, miner, woodcutter etc and you'll then learn to master your chosen trade before heading off on an adventure. In between all of this, you'll also customise your house and perform various other tasks along the way.

As you'd expect, Fantasy Life is presented much like a traditional Japanese action RPG and therefore, while it may not look like much, once it hooks you in you'll probably find it hard to let go and that's because how you play is up to you.

As mentioned, you can choose the life you wish to lead and then if you wish you can spend the rest of the game doing whatever you like. So although the game is keen for you to head on out into the big bad world as a paladin or wizard, it’s just as happy to let you go fishing or perform some feng shui in your apartment.

There's plenty of quests and challenges that you'll be asked to complete along the way. Usually these are given to you by a leader,  an odd butterfly like creature or just from people around the main town. Tasks set for you depend on the life you have chosen, so while a paladin will be asked to fight monsters or bandits, others will be fishing or making potions or performing other missions relevant to their skills.

As with any RPG, your character will gain XP and level up, meaning that you'll earn new skills, new recipes and improved equipment. In addition you can also earn Bliss, which allows you to gain pets, ride horses and more and if that's not enough, you'll also be able to earn cash, allowing you to upgrade your home with new furniture. If you like you can even switch between life's without losing any of your progress.

If there is one drawback to the game it's that it can get a little repetitive. Sure you may be doing different tasks, but often the changes are so minor that it doesn't really hook you in as much as you'd like. In addition, some of the tasks can be a little frustrating, for instance there is a bounty system giving cash for slain monsters, however trying to drag the monsters to collect the cash is so mundane that you'll probably not end up bothering.

So what does my daughter think of it? Well she loves it. In fact she's not stopped playing since it arrived. Every time I've glanced over she's been making potions or rearranging furniture. She even went on a monster bashing adventure with some success. I on the other hand could take it or leave it.

In respect of whether Fantasy Life will keep us off Animal Crossing, I have to say it's doubtful. While the game is charming and has plenty of room for exploration, for me (though not my daughter) it's more enjoyable in small doses, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Words by Joe Anderson.
Twitter: _wotta | PSN/Xbox LIVE: wotta

(Version Tested: 3DS)


+ Lots of variety
+ Cute graphics
+ Huge game


- Some tasks can be repetitive

Edited On 26 Sep, 2014

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