Fairytale Fights

6.0 Overall Score

Written by on February 10, 2010 in

All is not well in the land of Taleville. The porridge of the three bears has been stolen, and a mischievous tailor has disrupted the tales of four famous fairy tale heroes: Red Riding Hood, Jack (of beanstalk fame), Snow White, and The Emperor (with his new set of non-existent clothes).

You think you know these characters, but according to Fairytale Fights, you really don’t. These aren’t the saccharine-sweet, G-rated characters you’d see in a Disney animated feature. The shtick of Fairytale Fights is that they are the heroes from childhood stories, but with a comically bloody edge. An interesting premise. Be that as it may, every attempt at whimsy, irony or game play depth is outweighed by poor graphics and shoddy game mechanics.

Attempt to be Good #1 – Artistic Presentation: On the surface, the color palette is bright and vibrant in the way you’d expect fairy tale settings to be colored. I only wish the character models and environmental pieces were executed better. They look like play-dough blobs that generally resemble what the developers intended. Playing in the background, the atmospheric tunes are unremarkable muzak that’s as unmemorable and devoid of charm as the character models. Voice work is non-existent, leaving characters to emote through simple grunts and exclamations matched with over-exaggerated actions. The end result is a narrative told through text or action in the way Tom &Jerry cartoons conveyed plot without speaking a single line of dialogue. Unfortunately, Fairytale Fights doesn’t succeed nearly as well as Hanna-Barbera.

To be fair, there are a few truly creative parts. For instance, Playlogic’s re-imagining of Hansel and Gretel as conjoined twins was inspired. The multitude of weapons range from candy canes and giant needles to anchors and toy horses.

Attempt to be Good #2 – Game play Mechanics: I almost wished they spent as much care in crafting the game play. With the basic attack mapped to the right thumbstick, battle quickly becomes repetitive. They try to inject a bit of complexity into combat by offering different weapons types from sharp to blunt, projectile, offensive potions and magic wands. There’s even a “Glory Attack” that, when activated, lets your character unleash a multi-hit barrage. Yet, for these layers of fight mechanics, they do little to make the game any more fun.

Every once in a while, platforming segments offer a break from pure combat. Interestingly enough, the game seems to favor aesthetics while ruining the actual game play as a trade-off. The edges of many of the platforms are rounded, presumably to keep with the cartoony feel of the game. Also, the bright color palette makes the use of shadows barely noticeable. These visual design decisions create two problems. Not only is it difficult to judge depth because of the bright colors. Edges are not well-defined either. I found myself slipping from edges to my doom far too many times than I care to admit. Luckily, with infinite lives, my character spawned at or near where they died.

Attempt to be Good #3 – Game play Variety: Your currency in the game comes in the form of gems and coins you can find in chests strewn along your extremely linear path, or dropped by defeated foes. However, there seems to be only two things to spend your loot on: wishing wells that, for a certain expenditure of your treasure, will spit up a random assortment of items, most of which you can find in abundance as you play. The other is to upgrade a statue of your character in the hub world of Taleville. No weapon upgrades. No character power-ups.

So the single player portion isn’t anything to brag about. Surely, making it cooperative could add a bit of enjoyment into the mix. We’ve seen as much from Halo to Left 4 Dead to Castle Crashers. Alas, this isn’t the case. It’s a minor quibble that there is no discernible difference between characters other than the character model and the animation for the “Glory Attack”. But given the overarching problems with the game, the best I could say is that it’s a bad experience that up to four people can groan at together.

After twelve hours from beginning to end, any interesting parts are overshadowed by the soul-sucking monotony of its combat and the poorly executed platforming. For Fairytale Fights, a happy ending is truly nothing more than a fairy tale.

A copy of this game was provided to The Married Gamers for the purposes of evaluation and review.  Fairytale Fights is on retail shelves and is rated M for Mature.

Married Gamers Grade: D

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Author: John Catuira View all posts by

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