A Familiar Quest!
There’s something that caught my eye about Fairy Knights from the get go. It was interesting for a guy like me who isn’t a huge fan of the standard turn-based battles of the RPG’s of yore. This was turn based, but with a puzzle mechanic for the action. This could be good! This could even be great! I remember playing games like Puzzle Quest and Gyromancer that gave me a combat system around puzzle segments and I remember eating all of that up. This has all the workings to be good!
I’m gonna have a good time here. Right?
So, the story is pretty basic for the most part: You play as a boy who is, as the game describes to you, a compiler. Compilers are people who can control the flow of magic and do cool magic-type stuff wherever they go. Certainly helpful for a magic-themed quest you and your pet cat are tasked with. You are joined by a lady-type mage who hits a lot harder with magic than you do a few minutes into the story. All three of you are given the assignment of collecting the scattered mana stones and using them to do some sacred rite to bring rain back to your desolate kingdom.
As you explore more and more areas you and your partners gain access to different kinds of magic that you can use to dispatch foes along the way. As far as fantasy stories go it’s nothing too crazy. I’ll admit, I didn’t really come here for the story (and the story is fine), I came here for the neat way to attack: the cool puzzle grid!
Crumbling Around Me
There are… a LOT of things I want to say about how this game plays. Honestly, not a lot of them are great. With that being said, just know that a great deal of what you are about to hear is negative. In short: I did not have a good time.
This game could have given me zero control over my characters movement on the map and it would have been a better experience than what I got. See, in every stage of the world your team of intrepid warriors is tasked with walking to the opposite side of the room from where you started. Along the way you have “random” encounters every 5 seconds or so. There are no treasure chests to open or doors to unlock. All you get is just an occasional story moment or boss fight. It’s INCREDIBLY dull. So, had the game simply made my characters automatically move forward and had me relinquish control I would have had a better time because I wouldn’t have had the illusion that my ability to move had any effect on what I could find.
The way you attack in the game is by manipulating this giant grid system that shows up during encounters. Essentially, when you make a complete path from one side to the other or you make a complete circuit with the given tiles they explode and give you a physical and magical attack to dole out to the opposing foes. Now, this system is fabulous when it works how you want it to and the absolute BANE of your existence when it backfires (which it does extremely frequently). See, the problem with having the attacks fire off when you make a completed circuit rather than only when you make the path from left to right is that you could have an enormous, game-ending, kiss-your-mama-goodbye combo built up and one wrong turn gives you the full force of coughing at your enemies. You can only rotate the tiles on the screen counterclockwise (or anti-clockwise, you fine English folk). I kid you not when I say that I would overlook a plethora of shortcomings with this game if they just gave me a dang “clockwise rotate button”
Suffice to say, a great deal of the shortcomings I found with Fairy Knights all kind of fall in the category of “It’s not a bad idea, it’s just implemented in a way that makes it not a lot of fun”. The mechanics are there and they work well about 40% of the time. It’s just that the 60% of the time REALLY drags you down.
She’s a Beut!
All things aside, I have to admit one thing: This game is pretty adorable. The art style for you and those around you is certainly that “chibi-anime” style that guarantees that you could sell me a thousand of these characters as keychains that I would gladly buy. It’s adorable and vibrant where it needs to be. Does it save the rest of the gripes, not entirely, but it certainly doesn’t hurt either.
Also, the music is pretty good! Audio department gets a salute from me as the boss themes and area themes are distinct and fun to listen to. Honestly, it’s about what I expect from a budget title like this. Nothing too flashy, but enough to keep me listening while I play.
A Few Bumps Along the Road
There were a few more glitches and bizarre moments while I played Fairy Knights than I was expecting. Occasionally there are audio issues where music might cut out for a bit. It’s weird, but issues like that were few and far between. There were come silly translation errors, but those weren’t anything I got hung up on. If anything they were charming.
In fact, in my ten or so hours playing this game I only had one time when the game had a game breaking glitch that made me reset. After that it was fine. The game worked in handheld mode pretty well, which is where I spent most of my time. Docked mode made things just a bit smoother, but it wasn’t anything amazing. I will say that a pretty great benefit of handheld mode is that the entire game is touch responsive. So that’s a bonus!
Let’s Get Outta Here
All in all, I can’t say that my experience with Fairy Knights was a bad one, but I can certainly tell you it wasn’t a great one. I can honestly tell you that after a longer session I paused the game, looked up at my wife happily reading something on her phone and asked her “Why am I still playing this? I’m not having fun”. I put the game down and went to bed. There are a lot of people who love this game, and unfortunately, it seems that I am not one of them.
- Decent soundtrack
- For 10 bucks, there’s a decent amount of content
- Cute as heck
- Movement is pointless
- When the combat misfires, it hurts my soul
- My KINGDOM for a reverse rotate
Fairy Knights is fine by just about every metric you can muster, but with as many technical hiccups as I experienced, I have a hard time recommending this as a good game.