I always panic whenever I have to review an RPG. I tend to think that playing it one way and talking about my experience will be completely different to how everyone else plays it and cause some kind of unrest. That, and trying to complete it in time missing out a chuck of secrets and potential side missions that I could really enjoy is another factor. Fantasy Life by Level 5 on the 3DS seemed to put all my worries and panic to rest as this is an RPG like no other that I’ve come across. I might not be the biggest connoisseur of Japanese role playing games but with this title I was eased into a world where literally I could be who I wanted to be and genuinely enjoy myself with this freedom.
Ok, maybe I didn’t always want to be a Tailor when I grew up in the real world but this Life, as the game refers to as the different careers, is 1 of 12 you can play as. There’s a Paladin, Mercenary, Hunter, Magician, Miner, Woodcutter, Angler, Cook, Blacksmith, Carpenter, Alchemist and my Tailor class to choose from. My reasoning for choosing this Life was simply because I wanted to try something that wasn’t in any other game I’ve come across. We’ve had our share of fishing, cooking, hunting and tree chopping games over the years, but tailoring is just something I just had to see. And to be honest there’s an appeal to making my own attire than purchasing it that is pretty unique.
So after customising what my character looked like, from the colour of his hair to the voice he’d sounded like, my adventure begun. After meeting your companion Flutter, the talking butterfly and your mute character’s mouthpiece, you’re given free roam to explore the land of Reveria. What you’ll find is that this free roaming and optional side quests is what really implements the Life you’ve chosen. You can chop down trees as a Woodcutter, fish as an Angler and mine as a Miner. The actual meat of the main story doesn’t change to whichever class you are so it’s reassuring that you’ll still enjoy the same main quests as another player with another class would.
What is Fantasy Life?
To sum up what the game is about wouldn’t do it any justice. Saying it’s like Animal Crossing crossed with an RPG is still an understatement. Fantasy Life is an experience that features more content and replayability that we’ve ever seen. Yes, you live in a town and can expand your living space, decorate where you live, work hard to earn some Dosh, the game’s currency, and dress up however you want but these are the simple resemblances to that said other game. What Fantasy Life does differently is allow your character to level up through completing quests and side missions through experience points. Upon gaining enough Bliss points you’re given the option to carry more items, expand your home’s storage, ride horses and even obtain pets. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Bliss unlocks aside, your character has a separate Skill page to level up your common uses of Dashing, Sneaking, and in my case Sewing and Garment Tailoring. And to add even more depth you have a Status page which is more of your typical RPG points system where you spend earnings per level up on your traditional Strength for sword attacks, mining and woodcutting, to Dexterity for bow skills, daggers and sewing.
How I did
My first 12 hours with the game caught me off guard but not in a negative way. Given so much freedom to venture around Reveria meant that I could pick and choose whom I wanted to help in any order I wanted. After exploring the vast kingdom I went to acquire my Tailor’s licence and began to practise under the supervision of my teacher. Tailoring, like the various other crafting Life’s, required me to go out and collect recipes and partake in mini games at the workshop to create my garments. There’s a great sense of satisfaction when making something from scratch and wearing it with pride, which is pretty much a feeling that you’ll never tire of. This is what caught me off guard. I didn’t have to follow a strict linear path to progress and it pays off well.
After completing a few clothing requests and levelling up my skills I met a cat on a roof that demanded me to feed it fish as a side quest. I took a step back and thought to myself that however bizarre this game was I was actually enjoying the charm and once again Level 5 had me hooked on something other than the mechanics and story itself. It’s one thing having an immersive story with depth but every now and again I enjoy seeing something out of the ordinary, whether it be that cat or the Napdragon, another character that’s vital to the game’s story that requires your help, I’m an instant fan of quirky.
The story gets more adventurous the further you get into it. I explored volcanic caves whilst fighting molten lava enemies and even climbed up to the tallest summits to capture beasts to sell their bounties for a great price. This game literally gives you many options of activities and it’ll appeal to most people on various levels. The combat gets progressively better the more you obtain better equipment to wear that’ll boost your abilities. Your home will reflect you the more you add more furnishings and find colours that’ll suit you whilst being appealing for your pets too. The story will have you gripped with its charm as you, Flutter and your followers rescue, inspire and fight alongside new allies from creatures out to cause mayhem. Fantasy life is a game that’ll have you playing for an extremely long time as you’ll try out different classes and further down the like purchase more content to keep the game going even longer. And best of all you can play with other friends of yours locally or over the internet, up to 3 of you in your world, to explore and hunt with, The perfect icing on this gigantic cake. It’s hard to fault this game and Level 5 have done it again.