Have you ever wanted to wear a cape while walking your dog and holding a sword? Maybe you wanted to make a name for yourself hunting monsters and fulfilling the requests of a glowing, chattering butterfly. Or perhaps you wanted to live in a fantasy world where you can change professions at will, and wander around at your leisure, doing anything from saving the world to interior design. Whatever your desire, you can do it in Level 5’s new role-playing game (RPG) Fantasy Life for the Nintendo 3DS.
The major draw of Fantasy Life is the freedom given to the player. The game starts with players customizing every aspect of their digital avatar. They could create one that resembles themselves, or literally have stars in their eyes and blue hair. They are also afforded a living space that they can decorate however they please. After picking their initial lives and meeting with the king, they are free to do whatever they wish. There is a main storyline, but it can be pursued at any pace.
In fact, there is so much to do that completing the story may itself become a fantasy. Players can easily get lost gathering materials, fighting monsters, exploring new areas, doing quests for non-player characters (NPCs), or trying to rank up their lives.
Objectives, both story and miscellaneous, are kept in an easy-to-reach journal and are organized by story, life challenges, and quests for other characters. Completing story objectives and challenges awards the player Bliss points, which allows them to unlock bonuses such as the ability to carry more items, or to adopt a pet. The more bliss a player obtains, the better.
One of the other major draws of the game is its life system. Each life is synonymous with a job the player can have. Possible choices include Paladin, Mercenary, Angler, Carpenter, Blacksmith, Miner, Woodcutter, Tailor, Cook, Alchemist, Wizard, or Hunter. Each choice gives the player certain skills and abilities that are unique to the class, with some offering the ability to collect materials by mining or cutting trees, and others to create armor and weapons, clothes, or furniture. As players complete challenges associated with the classes, they gain ranks which unlock more skills, special moves, and crafts that they can create.
These classes can be changed at nearly any time, and the player retains any skills and abilities they learned previously. Skills are leveled up as they are used, meaning players only need to change a class long enough to learn its particular skills before returning to their favorite life.
Aside from skill sets, types of items a player can equip, and certain interactions with characters being restricted to having a certain rank in a specific life, classes do not affect how the player can interact with the world.
The world itself is also a major appeal. Vast areas full of colorful characters and zany monsters (such as a giant carrot) keep players entertained for hours, and the dialogue is full of witty and playful lines. Combat is quick and efficient with action being triggered by button presses in real time. Players can also craft items in sequences where they press buttons based on the station where they are creating their items in a fun and fast-paced mini-game.
However, Fantasy Life is not without some minor flaws. Sometimes players must stop moving forward in order to unlock new areas by advancing the story. Travel between areas is also limited at first, but opens up as the story progresses. Finally, while there is a fast travel system, the player is unable to use it when carrying certain items, which impedes progress and can lead to the player losing said items.
All in all, Fantasy Life is an amazing blend of RPG and life simulation where a player is able to live the life of their choosing at their own pace. Engaging characters, strong dialogue, vast exploration, quick combat, and fun crafting sequences blend to make a game where any fantasy can become reality.
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