Fantasy Life is the latest role-playing game (PRG) from Level-5 for the Nintendo 3DS. I noticed, while trying to come up with stuff to say for this post, that I have a lot of brand loyalty when it comes to game developers. The name Fantasy Life didn’t mean much to me, but one look at the Level-5-esque characters had me intrigued. It’s not that the characters are exceptionally drawn or anything, it’s just that they have that distinctive style that evokes Professor Layton and Ni No Kuni, both of which I love.
Anyway, I bought this game on a whim, or perhaps it was a double-whim. First, I thought I had pre-ordered it on Amazon, but this past Monday, I realized that the release day had come and gone, which meant that I hadn’t ordered it after all. I immediately ordered my copy.
The short story: this game has everything I like about MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online RPGs), but without the MMO part, if that makes any sense. You have the option of calling your Nintendo DS friends over to play with you, but it’s not required in any way (that I know of).
However, it does note which of your friends has the game and integrates them into your game. For example, it placed the house of one of my friends, complete with his interior décor, next door to mine. (I was confused – one of my DS buddies has a similar name to one of the NPCs. It’s the NPC’s house that’s next door to mine. Steele vs. Stele, it’s an easy mistake to make, right?)
This game has one major thing that most single-player PRGs does not: crafting! Along with the standard combat classes (known in this game as “lives”) such as paladin, mercenary, hunter, and wizard, you can also choose a gathering “life,” such as a miner, or a crafting one, such as blacksmith.
I started out as an alchemist, a crafter of potions and charms, and boy did my character need them! Alchemists can use daggers in battle, but aren’t very good at defense, so those potions come in handy. However, you can change your “life” often, and without penalty, so long as you’re not in the middle of a main story quest. This means that you can mine, chop wood, gather herbs, fish, and fight in the same area, without having to run back and forth to switch lives! Admittedly, it took me about eight in-game hours to realize that, so I did have some back-and-forth to do, but now I know, and now you know, too!
I don’t think I’m anywhere near finished with the story yet (I just unlocked the third city), and it’s obvious that Butterfly is hiding something, but this game will have me wasting many an hour trying to become a god in all lives.
If only it were as easy to master skills in real life. Oh, well. Those fish aren’t going to catch themselves, so I’ll catch you later!