Kii continues her steadfast commitment to highly addictive games.
There are two things I love in life. Creating/collecting shit and reward based adventuring. This is why I’m a diehard Monster Hunter fan and there may have been an intervention regarding Animal Crossing. But now I have found something that combines these two loves of mine so I can easily plug hours into my 3DS instead of all that other shit I’m meant to be doing like laundry and eating. The name of this new world eater? Level 5’s Fantasy Life.
In Fantasy Life there are 12 types of ‘Life’, I would have called them ‘Jobs’ but then I suppose they wouldn’t be special or distinguishable from other such things like ‘Recycling Coordinator’ and ‘Thug’. The Life you choose gives you particular stats such as the Woodcutter having increased Strength and the Tailor higher Dexterity, these Lives (Lifes?) also give you their own quest chains in which you level up your proficiency at Mining or Cooking in attempt to Master said Life.
When I first looked into this game I thought ‘Man, I’m going to have to play through this twelve times to be able to experience the whole thing’ but upon booting up I discovered that I was completely wrong. The game seems to realise that you want to do absolutely everything and so you can go to the Guild Clerk and change your Life whenever you want with no cost whatsoever.
There is also a main storyline in which you team up with a talking butterfly named Flutter (stay with me) in attempt to save the world from falling Doom Stones. At first I thought the story to be a bit childish but I enjoyed running around as a fledgling alchemist and the joy of the structure of Fantasy Life is that you can wander around for hours doing other random shit without having a giant exclamation point demanding you do something plot related bothering you. To move on with story you simply do the quests the Butterfly wants and off you go. The thing is, I am now over 60 hours into the game, I’ve Mastered 4 lives and I’m genuinely engrossed in the plot so much so that I found myself thinking ‘Man, shit’s going down. I need to level my Blacksmithing so I can have some cool looking armour for the next bit’. I want to look good for the single player bit. I HAVE NOBODY TO LOOK GOOD FOR OTHER THAN THE GAME ITSELF.
Fantasy Life also has local multiplayer where you can open your world to visitors or you can jump into someone else’s. It’s pretty damn seamless and you’re not restricted to where your friend has been in their own world, cue me carrying my partner through areas two cities ahead of him just so he could find some gold. But unlike Monster Hunter, you can trade items between players so sharing is caring when someone wants to level his Carpentry without actually going out to find any wood.
So the adventuring etc is the Monster Hunter-y bit and now you’re wondering where Animal Crossing comes into it. Firstly, the game is adorable in design and I’ve come to expect nothing less from Level 5 since Professor Layton and Ni No Kuni. Secondly, you get your own little house/room and you can decorate it however you like! I’ve spent hours crafting to produce the perfect wardrobe and doing missions for the townspeople will often give you some new wallpaper or some drapes.
You can also find and make new clothes so you can look flashy when not fighting monsters! Clothes do have stats in this game so I tend to have outfits to match the Life I’m trying to level at the time, for example, wearing something with high Intelligence for a Magician or high Strength for a Mercenary will give you better results. And finally, you can have PETS! You have up to three pets that live in your house and can choose between breeds of cats and dogs. A piece of advice, each main city in the game offers different breeds so don’t blow all your pet allowance in the first one otherwise the pet vendor will make you feel like a massive douche for returning them.
Anyways, all of this adds a huge personalisation aspect to the game which Nintendo themselves are using to their advantage. Nintendo UK’s twitter account often links codes for unique furniture or outfits that you can download into your game for free, one of my favourites thus far has been the Nap Dragon outfit (It’s a Dragon and it naps). I was going to find them all and give you a list but I feel it’s more professional to send you to Nintendo themselves. And also I couldn’t be bothered.
The blend of these two styles solves a problem for me that I had with Animal Crossing (Other than the soul crushing guilt NPCs lay on you for not booting it up regularly). When you had accumulated the furniture you had your eye on or finally bought that fancy hat, there wasn’t much to do. I know that there were island activities but they were more like mini-games to me and didn’t hold my interest for long. With Fantasy Life, I have the fun of customising my home but I can also go off on an adventure if I feel like it. I can try and smite a dragon or chop down that ‘Boss Tree’ or find that fish that the cat gave me a mission to get. There’s always something to do, no matter how long or short a time you have to play it. It’s a game that fits around your lifestyle, do some crafting on a commute or do a big chunk of story if you’re sick on the sofa.
All in all, I love this game and how easy it is to play it. It’s genuinely pleasant and nicely paced. My main gripe is that the start button is the screen cap button which I felt was very counterintuitive and resulted in at least twenty photos of my character just wandering around when I’m trying to get to the menu. It’s only a minor issue though and doesn’t detract from an otherwise great game.
If you need me, I’ll be running around a palace with a pot on my head.