Wednesday, 1 October 2014

One To Watch: Fantasy Life [3DS]

Fantasy Life is a new 3DS game in which players can choose to play as not one - but twelve - distinctly different characters. The game has been brought to you by Level 5 inc. the team behind the hugely successful Professor Layton franchise, and it has all the makings of another massively popular game series. 

The game is set in the fictional world of Reveria. Players start out as by customising a generic Avatar. Players may alter the gender, body type, skin colour, hairstyle, face shape, eyes, and voice of their chosen character.

Once the new Avatar has been created, they will take on the role of an innocent young man or woman who has recently arrived in a brand new town. Players must choose a career path for their Avatar, (known as a 'life' within the game,) by which to earn their keep and pay off their new landlord, etc. Players must pick an initial life to start with from the twelve types listed below:

  • Hunter
  • Cook
  • Miner
  • Angler
  • Alchemist
  • Paladin
  • Magician
  • Woodcutter
  • Tailor
  • Mercenary
  • Blacksmith
  • Carpenter
This chosen 'life' will help you develop new skills, such as digging for fossils, precious metals and gemstones (Miner), or saw any logs that have been collected into snazzy new furniture and other items (Carpenter). However, the game's most interesting feature is that players can choose to swap between all twelve lives. Each new life is governed by a 'Life Leader', who will be instrumental in teaching the main character his or her new craft.

Once players have become reasonably proficient in their current life, they will be offered the opportunity to swap to a different life, whilst keeping any skills and materials that have been collected from their previous one.

For example, players who start out as a Miner in the game can collect rare metals and ores, and then they can swap to the Blacksmith life and learn to create weapons such as swords from the metal ore that they had collected as a miner, and then they can swap to the Mercenary life and use the swords they created to battle the town's most fearsome monsters, including a fire-breathing dragon! Thus, players can use the skills they gain from various lives to progress throughout the game.

The varied lives keep the gameplay interesting and engaging. When players are not busy slaying one of the local monsters, they must use their current life skill to help the various townsfolk with their problems, players can earn money and stars this way, which will gradually increase their skill levels.

There are three different types of currency in the game:

  • Dosh - this is the main currency in the game and is used to buy and sell goods.
  •  Bliss - is gained by swapping lives and visiting new areas of the game map. Bliss allows you to gain upgrades to weaponry and armour or allow you to get a pet for your home.
  • Stars - These are awarded to the player and allow a character to advance in his or her current skill level.

Having trouble viewing this trailer? CLICK HERE

Fantasy Life has a regular day and night cycle, which helps keep things realistic. There is also a massive game map with several new environments to explore and new monsters to battle.

Furthermore, the game features both local and online multiplayer 'Co-op' modes, so players can choose to  battle the fearsome monsters that threaten Reveria's safety side by side with up to four friends at any one time. Even better, online multiplayer has its own chat feature that lets you send messages to other players as you explore the realm together.

However, the fun does not stop there, because players can also choose to expand the experience by purchasing special expansion packs, which can be downloaded directly from the Nintendo eShop. These expansion packs are set to retail at around £7.18 and will provide players with new areas to explore, extra costumes for character customisation, new materials, ranks and recipes, new pets, plus much, much more.

In conclusion, Fantasy Life is a very enjoyable game that will appeal to RPG fans of almost any age. The colourful, quirky graphics and gentle plot will almost certainly appeal to younger gamers, whilst the subtle intricacies of the gameplay coupled with the lure of expansion packs and an online multiplayer experience are likely to appeal to the more mature RPG fan too. Overall Mini Gamers rating: 8/10.

Fantasy Life is available to buy from all good video-game retailers now.

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