Each week, we send out early codes of selected games to members of our App Army and ask for their feedback.
One top pick this week was tinyBuild's Fearless Fantasy, a rather peculiar RPG that's made a suitably appropriate move over to mobile.
Let's see what our App Army had to say...
Sod Almighty: Initially, I expected to hate this game; but it's surprisingly playable. The quick-time events are a neat twist on the usual Pokémon-style system, and make every victory theoretically certain, with sufficient skill. The only thing holding you back is your own clumsy fingers, not the weakness of your character(s). Except when blinded, when it's an arse to hit anything at all.
Blinding is a very annoying mechanic, but not necessarily bad per se. Although many people seem to think it’s a bug. It's the kind of thing that should be explained in a tutorial; but unfortunately, there is no tutorial. This is a bit of a problem.
It seems a little repetitive so far. Might get boring after a while. No crashes so far on my iPad Air 2, however.
Ethan: I've been playing the game for a bit and I'm enjoying the graphical style and the gameplay, even though side-scrolling RPG games aren't really my thing. My only the complaint with the game is the lack of depth in the tutorial. I found myself self swiping randomly at the beginning, not knowing that I had to time the swipes perfectly to make an attack successful. Overall a pretty cool game so far, with great voice acting and game mechanics.
TheAspieFox: Okay, so I spent about three hours with the game ( as much as I could play without it crashing. ;-; ) and put together a little list:Pros:
- Interesting Artwork
- Skills to invest in are varied
- Levelling systems seems steady
- Gaining XP and money even in defeat keeps player from getting stressfully stuck
- Music is intriguing
- Achievements are always a nice thing
- Constantly crashes on iPad 2; can't even get through the Damsel in Distress fight entirely (which is the first fight after the tutorial)
- Swipe attacks / defends seem inaccurate or delayed for the first swipe of the set (sometimes the swipe or tap command buttons wouldn't have the outline around them to tell you when you're supposed to tap or swipe for any result better than "good" or "poor" - I don't know if it's intentional in the game)
- Voice acting is a little sub-par (particularly for female's part) and dialogue plays out too quickly in succession to be made believable / engaging or even, sometimes, comprehensible
- Minor grammatical and punctuation-based errors (personal annoyance; nothing game-breaking)
- Unless it's purely stylistic and intentional, the cutscenes being outlines and un-coloured, as opposed to the rest of the game which is vibrant and coloured, feels out of place if not unfinished.
curtneedsaride: Couldn't wait until lunch, so I started it while rendering some video. This game is more captivating than I thought it would be. I would have liked to see it offer overworld exploration and opportunities to grind (one of the things I enjoy in RPGs). However, the art style, cinematic cutscenes, voice acting, music selection, battle depth, and tactile timed turn-based battles have enticed me to go further. And in one of the first few cutscenes this guy says he's a Monster Hunter. I'm a sucker for that!
I do agree that in the tutorial they should explain that you need to swipe or tap when the line around the shapes hit the outline of the shapes. It's a great gameplay mechanic that just needs a little explanation.
So far, so good!
John: I will echo what was said about the art style and voice acting. It is quirky and weird, but it fits. I really liked the "cut scenes" too. They were drawn goofy and seemed to be animated sometimes and other times not. It just made me happy to play this game.
Some of the attacks were confusing at first. The arrows or dot slide around the screen wanting you to anticipate their final position, which took me a bit to figure out. I thought it all worked really well.
The dodge system works really well. If you get good enough you can end up taking zero damage. If you are terrible you will take enough in just a few hits to kill off your party. It's super cool.
I found the controls to be responsive with no lag issues like others reported. I am playing on an iPhone 5S.
The main complaint I have is the battles can take a long time if you don't have good damage or a good understanding of how to make attacks work. I bet my second fight took about 15 minutes. I got better, but there is definitely a learning curve.
I haven't run into money issues or XP issues.
I'm really enjoying Fearless Fantasy. I've played for maybe 4 hours so far and totally plan to complete the game at least once.
curtneedsaride: Played for a while longer during lunch, and have some more positives, but a few negatives as well.
As much as I do like the art style of the gameplay and the cutscenes, it would be nice if they matched. Either all color, or all outlined... preferably coloured.
As previously mentioned, sometimes the dialogue boxes that appear do so too fast and then disappear altogether. It would be nice to have them appear at whatever speed the dialogue is playing, but stay there when the dialogue ends, so we can catch up or scroll back up and read through it again.
The battles themselves are where the game is played, which doesn't satisfy that exploration aspect I look for in each game, but they play well for the most part. The only problem aside from learning when and how to interact with the touch outlined interface is when it disappears altogether!
I don't know if it is part of a status effect inflicted on one of my characters, but for a whole round my Leon didn't have the outlines around the shapes, so either I didn't hit them on time or swipe on time. It was confusing, and resulted in the battle taking longer than it should have. If it is part of a status effect, then that is something that we should have been shown in the tutorial, along with learning all of the controls.
Aside from that problem in battle, I agree that the battles are too long. I'd enjoy it more if they were listed out like Chapter 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, instead of just going in and playing through three rounds to complete the chapter.
However, I will say, it is nice to be able to minimise the app and come back to it. It would have been nicer still to close the app fully and be able to resume a battle where you left off, since they're so long. But, since it is chapter-by-chapter, it saves after each one is completed I guess.
Overall, it is a fun turn-based battler with tactile, engaging attack and defend gameplay mechanics. It lacks in exploration, freedom, and explanation, but really delivers on production value, gameplay, and even a decent story so far. I don't know how long it lasts, but I'll be enjoying this one for a few hours at least.
Danny Russell: Is anyone else finding some of the battle audio overtly... sexual? If I can hear my neighbour in the back garden I find myself having to turn down the volume for all the oofing and grunting!
At launch it seems the game may magically transform somewhat, adding some new backgrounds and hopefully bug fixes from the sound of things.
JJE McManus: In my experience so far, Fearless Fantasy seems like a nice-looking turn-based battler with unremarkable mechanics and game-ending problems.
I'm getting a Yellow Submarine vibe from its appearance, mostly from the monsters. The graphics are crisp and unique. The stage you battle on is nice but static. I'd assume the environments change in later levels but I didn't get that far.
The battle mechanics are simple enough: you go, they go. Rinse and repeat. Combat accuracy comes from getting the timing right on a series of diminishing circles and arrows. Tap the circles, swipe the arrows. Accuracy in both tapping and swiping is rewarded. Additionally, the tooltip that appears when you select a monster is nice. Still, all the tapping leading up to combat seems excessive. The frenetic timing aspect detracts from thoughtful turn-based play.
The beautiful faux 3D sprites are still, at the end of the day, flat sprites. There's nothing here to make the game stand out from any other example of the genre. Credit to the story for getting right into it, however. There's no long backstory intro cutscene. The tale itself seems standard; hunk swordsman with a troubled past, virginal underage heroine, sexually enticing and forever inaccessible.
By the second series of monster waves the ever diminishing outline around circles and arrows disappeared. Since these outlines are key to getting the timing right combat became impossible. Lots of frustration followed by a large, loud rage quit.
If the battling worked correctly it might be fun for someone into turn-based slug fests. But it's got that huge combat bug. It's not my cuppa in any event.
John: The circles and arrows disappearing is one of the mechanics of the game. It's a status effect that can happen during a battle. It's like they are blinding you. I had that happen as well. It went away after I finished the battle.
curtneedsaride: I may have found a bug. I really wanted to dive back in after dinner, but when I opened it, tapped on Start and my save file, the map showed up with my time and stars at the top... But the actual cleared chapters aren't there! So, I've got nothing to tap on or nothing to do really. Options and exit still work though. Hope it works again soon.
Now looking at the menus, I really wish the Clear Slot button wasn't directly under the Load Slot button. Hope there's a confirm that pops up after!
The App Army have spoken! If you'd like to sign up, please have a gander at our App Army application article.
Did you pick up Fearless Fantasy? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below!