|Dev: Level-5, 1-UP Studio|
|Release: October 24, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol|
A few more issues will hamper players, particularly those who want to focus on a number of different Lives. All the crafting Lives—smithing, cooking, tailoring, alchemy, and carpentry—use the exact same mini-game for the crafting process. It gets very old if you're leveling up multiple crafts. Switching Lives isn't as streamlined as it should be, either. You can only switch at the Guild Office in town, and although you can technically gather, craft, and kill without switching Lives, you'll want to do so starting mid-game because of the advantages you receive for representing the native Life for the job at hand. The game doesn't always swap equipment along with job changes, so min-maxers who want to create specialized outfits for various Lives will find themselves changing clothes far too often.
In other areas, however, Fantasy Life gets its design right. There are a ton of travel options, including quick travel, that make it a breeze to get around the world. Inventory management is quite simple and convenient, especially for a game with the mind-boggling amount of items that this game has. Both your own inventory and the storage in your home are quite large, particularly once they've been expanded a few times, and you can craft directly using items in your storage. Interacting with characters is a draw rather than a chore, as not one of them is boring. Even fetch quest givers have quirky personalities, and every shopkeeper has a silly joke to tell. The main characters are all loveable in their own ways, and several feel like fast friends by the end of the game.
Fantasy Life contains many rewards for players who take the time to explore its world and dig into its systems. Combat Lives develop powerful special attacks, which they'll need to take down the powerful boss monsters scattered throughout the world. Gathering Lives discover increasingly fantastical things to dig, chop, or fish up as they venture into the forgotten corners of the world. Crafting classes develop the ability to customize gear with various add-ons and create fun furnishings for the homes that the character is able to purchase in the main cities. The fact that progress is broken down into small, readily available goals means that players can accomplish things in short gameplay sessions but can also be seduced into longer spurts by completing goal after goal.
The charm and the “just one more goal” appeal of Fantasy Life create a mixture that can be fun for short sessions or cause hours to melt away. That kind of flexibility is its strength, and though there are weaknesses as well, they're overcome by the game's sheer moxie and broad appeal. The lighthearted characters, accessible story, and variety of activities will appeal to younger and more casual players, while the expansive world and surprisingly deep RPG systems will hook older, more traditional gamers. This is Level-5 at its best, creating attractive, humorous games that are easy to pick up and play but are bursting with optional content that keeps gamers coming back for more. Go get a Life already, it's a real good time.
Date: October 28, 2014