Review: Fearless Fantasy
A Turn-Based RPG with Innovative Mechanics: Fearless Fantasy.
This review originally appeared on the PMS Clan website in June, 2014.
Fearless Fantasy is a turn-based game that pays homage to the great Japanese role playing games of the past. Even Chris Lee, producer of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, deemed it, “The most original RPG of the year.”
Fearless Fantasy was created by Daniel Borgmann and Andrew Kerekes under the company Enter Skies. Since then, they’ve partnered with tinyBuild to publish the title for Steam and later on, mobile devices. At PAX East, tinyBuild had an area set up in the Indie Megabooth where con-goers could play-test the new game. But, it wasn’t until I received a preview copy did I realize this how addicting it was.
This RPG delves into the story of Leon, a bounty hunter with a gunblade, who gets roped into helping Princess Alice from marrying Xola, the antagonist. With the help of his friend Vonn, the trio battles strange monsters on their way to Xola’s castle, one being Xola’s pet, the venomous Eyeruh.
The tale is one we’ve all heard before: a fearless warrior saves a defenseless girl. But you’re not playing Fearless Fantasy for an original story, you’re playing it for a fun, unique battle system with vibrant characters in a strange world.
Though more suited for touch screens, this battle system is fun and fast. Each skill employs a different gestural pattern that must be completed in order to attack or defend. Leon’s blade or Vonn’s mallet is a test of cursor accuracy while Leon’s gunblade and Alice’s crossbow implement timing when arrows align.
In order to score an epic critical hit, the player must follow an arrowed pattern with their mouse pointer and stay in the middle. A bar at the top of the screen lets you know how much time you have left and how close you are to filling the meter with each successful completed pattern.
The party’s encumbrance is limited to 12 items with each upgrade becoming accessible when you pass a certain point. For instance, the last batch of items unlock at Xola’s castle. A character can equip a weapon and an accessory. There’s no armor but each weapon have offensive and defensive stats. Weapons with a higher potential for a critical have lower defense, and vice versa. Accessories make up for it with extra strength, vitality, endurance, stamina, and other positive effects.
Every monster has its hit points and speed listed on the battlefield. As if you had Final Fantasy’s scan ability on permanently, an enemy’s weakness, buff, and hit points is always visible. This instance leaves little room for strategy and becomes more about how fast I can beat this wave and get on with it. This hurts the innovative battle system.
Missions need to be redone a few times in order to gain enough experience and gold to progress the story. The player simply can’t beat each mission once on the lowest difficult rating (one star) and expect to complete the game. Enemies significantly get harder by the time you get to Xola’s castle. Although the game developers stress that Fearless Fantasy is for those who love turn-based RPGs but don’t have the time or patience for them — grinding is necessary to complete the game. Luckily, cut scenes are skipable but enemies never change. You know what you’re getting into. That and knowing every statistic about what you’re fighting proves there’s not much strategy once the core mechanics are learned.
The animated cut scenes are reminiscent of anime, with Alice’s eyes being substantially larger than any male in the game. The characters seemed sketched and unfinished but this seemed more like a stylistic choice. The rich voice acting gives personality to the main characters who would otherwise be boring stereotypes. You can tell the actors had fun with it. It’s interesting to hear their banter and the tension between Leon and Alice.
Fearless Fantasy is for both the casual and hardcore player who want a quick fun yet substantial game that pays homage to its predecessors.
The game is on Steam for $6.99. Tablet and mobile device users should expect a release date in the near future.