I recently passed the twenty-four hour mark a couple days after it released on October 24. I never expected to write that because this game was off my radar. That’s not to say I didn’t hear of it before because I’m pretty sure I have, it’s just that it got lost somewhere among the Fall releases until a week ago. I’m saving up for a wedding (I love you!) and have had to become particularly picky with the games I choose to buy and play. Since Super Smash Bros released on the 3DS I’ve wanted to pick it up but to be honest I’ve never been a diehard Smash Bros fan and decided to hold off for the Wii U version. I was casually browsing the eShop for something new when I came across the charming art of Fantasy Life and that’s when I remembered watching a buddy of mine playing it earlier in the day. As I peered over his shoulder I was immediately drawn in by the fun art style. This game oozes charm. I used some credit I had saved up for the eShop and downloaded it on a whim and boy am I happy I did.
Fantasy Life doesn’t do anything groundbreaking for the RPG genre and anyone who has played just about any RPG game will be able to see that but even so I can’t put it down. It starts out seemingly falling victim to all the cliché tropes of the genre with it’s medieval setting, various classes, and dragon that threatens the innocent people of the city…or does it? The classes are called Lives in this game but what’s fun is in Fantasy Life there are twelve to choose from ranging from your typical Paladin to your not so typical Cook. I decided to start out my adventure as an aspiring Cook (surprise surprise). Once you choose your Life and meet a talking butterfly who becomes your companion you set off on your adventure at your own pace.
There are quests that open up to you in three main categories. First are Challenges that net you Stars used for leveling up your Life class granting you access to better equipment and abilities. Next up are Butterfly’s Requests. These are main story quests and completing them grants you Bliss that unlocks abilities like carrying a larger bag to hold more items, unlocking better items at various shops, or being able to have a pet that can join your party later in the game. The third and final quest type are Other Requests which are your standard side quests and completing these rewards you with Dosh, the in game currency, along with random items. Completing quests and defeating enemies rewards you with XP and skill points that level up your overall character. You should use these skill points wisely and try to think ahead about what Life you might choose next since certain stats go hand in hand with certain Lives. Each world is littered with varied enemies and mini bosses that not only help you level up but also drop items and even Bounties—and I like Bounties. When you defeat a boss a Bounty will drop and it is then in your best interest to keep enemies from attacking and destroying it as you journey to the nearest Bounty Clerk to cash it in. Once you do you will gain varying amounts of Dosh and other goodies ranging from armor and weapons to bags of silver that can be sold at shops for more Dosh. You can carry up to three Bounties at a time and protecting them while you make your way back to a clerk is fun.
If you distill quests to their simplest form they all are pretty much the same yet it never feels that way thanks to the ability to change your Life at almost any time as long as you’re not in the middle of a story quest. I started and leveled up as a Cook so that I could make my own items to recover HP in battle. From there I chose the Life of an Angler in order to be able to catch rare fish so that I could make higher level dishes as a Cook. Then I switched to a Miner to mine ore for the purpose of eventually crafting better armor and weapons as a Blacksmith. I am currently a Paladin but plan to level up as a Blacksmith and then become a Mercenary to obtain rarer meats to again cook higher level dishes. From there I will try my hand as an Alchemist and then a Wizard. Another neat hook in Fantasy Life is that you keep all the skills you’ve learned in each Life you’ve played and can unlock Challenges from past Life choices and level up that class when you switch back.
There is a lot to love in Fantasy Life from it’s light hearted cartoon style and catchy score to it’s witty dialogue and beautifully varied worlds that I have yet to get bored which is surprising because I’m not into RPGs. With so many quests for so many classes to run through, for me, the world seems large and inviting with a real sense of progression that can be seen in both the Life I am currently playing as well as Lives I have played. I can’t help but want to play just one more quest that often leads to another. My only gripe is that I can’t back up my game save to my SD card and trying to do so results in a “no backup data was found” prompt. Having clocked in at about 26 hours so far, that concerns me. Once I reach level 50 I will definitely purchase the expansion that adds a new area, new ranks in each Life, more powerful equipment, and new pets such as birds and dragons. DRAGONS!