Friday, October 28, 2016

Fairune 2 (3DS eShop) Review

Another day, another dollar, and another review! The "another dollar" part is really the only unrealistic thing here, but that's unimportant! What IS important here is that SuperPhillip Central has Circle Entertainment's Fairune 2 to cover. A game filled with exploration and adventuring, Fairune 2 happened to be an entertaining experience overall. See how with the SuperPhillip Central review.

An old school adventure is in your hands

Circle Entertainment has been a fine localizing partner for many games that might otherwise never leave the East. Games of multiple genres and types come pouring out of the publisher, and the quality is generally quite favorable for them to keep doing so. The latest game published by Circle Entertainment is Fairune 2, a game hearkening back to a more old school design. Thankfully, this old school design does not make for an antique of a game.

Fairune 2 is part RPG, part adventure game. Really, the main focus of the game is exploring a myriad of maps to attain items to discover ways to progress further in the game. The main goal of Fairune 2 is to save three faeries from their imprisonment in the game's three main areas. Along the way you'll further the rather bare-bones story, but at the same time you'll most likely be enjoying yourself.

Fairune 2 is not the type of game that holds your hand. You're immediately set loose into a plains area where some modest exploration gives you a sword. This sword is your means of attacking enemies, but there really is no complexity to combat. All you do is walk into an enemy sprite, and that foe is defeated. Depending on your experience level, you'll lose some HP and gain some experience. The lower your level compared to the enemy you collide with, the more HP you lose and the more experience you gain. Early in Fairune 2 you'll find yourself defeating enemies while taking zero damage and gaining zero experience. However, as you progress through the game, you're always taking on new enemies with greater strength, so there is usually always something new to gain experience from, and thus, new levels. Even enemies that give no experience or cause no harm are worthwhile because they can occasionally drop money.

Combat is a bit of an afterthought in Fairune 2, but it does serve a small purpose.
So, really, the RPG and combat aspects of Fairune 2 are really just their to check boxes. They're not really important to the overall game or feel very iterated on. The true fun from Fairune 2 comes from the game's adventuring aspect. While the various maps of the game aren't too terribly big, they do house a lot of fascinating points of interest, many of which you will probably not be prepared to tackle right away. This is usually due to not having the correct item in your inventory.

Yes, items are a really big part of Fairune 2. Generally in the game you're walking around areas searching for the right order of steps to do to make progress. For instance, finding an axe allows you to cut down a specific tree, which in turn allows you to use that tree's logs to build a bridge to access a new section of the game. This specific order in which you have to do things may make for an appearance of linearity, but there are secrets hidden in Fairune 2's world that are completely optional to find to add to some good reasons to search every nook and cranny the game's various lands possess.

You'll come across a wide assortment of items in Fairune 2, each with their own specific uses.
Again, Fairune 2 doesn't hold your hand. There are no hints to be found. All that will assist you in the game is your own observance of the game world in which you explore. It's not just as simple as having the correct item. You have to realize when it's the right moment to use it. Even when you have the correct item, you might not know when, where, or even how to use it. Without spoiling the fun of figuring this out for yourself, there is a specific area in the snow world of Fairune 2 that requires you to use something in your inventory in a nontraditional way to find your way through a Legend of Zelda Lost Woods-style maze. When you finally get what you need to do, and not just in this example, it's such a rewarding feeling and "ah-ha" moment. Sometimes a puzzle won't even require an item, but through careful examination of the environment, the solution will usually present itself.

Solving puzzles with and without the use of items is the main element of gameplay in Fairune 2.
Occasionally, there are some frustrations with the adventuring aspects of Fairune 2. There is a lot of backtracking to be found in this game, and sometimes you don't know the item that you need is actually in a past area you've already visited. This means you can search up and down, left and right, and forwards and backwards through an area before you finally figure out that area doesn't have the item you require. The frustration increases as more and more time goes by before it finally dawns on you that what you're looking for isn't in your current area.

Fairune 2 is a rather lengthy adventure to do everything in, taking anywhere between 8-12 hours. That's a mighty good amount of time for the cost of the game. There are an assortment of achievements to try to tackle as well-- things like simply beating the game to doing so without a sword, or properly filling out every map. Then, your play time will increase even more through going after these additional goals.

The bottom screen's map is a blessing for getting your bearings.
Sporting a lovely retro art style, Fairune 2 dazzles with its colorful areas and simple but appealing sprites. The music is also suitably and charmingly retro, offering a catalog of catchy songs that even after repeatedly venturing through each area does not get grating on the ears. Despite being on the Nintendo 3DS, Fairune 2 does not sport any depth effects with the 3D slider. It's 2D all the way, which will at least save your battery to have extended sessions exploring the world of Fairune 2.

Fairune 2 is a marvelous adventure that works due to the logic of its puzzles. Every solution makes sense in some regard. There's never a feeling of "how was I supposed to know that" that ever shines through in the game. Occasional bothers like the throwaway combat and backtracking do hinder the experience somewhat, but overall, Fairune 2 delivers old school charm and old school game design influences without feeling antiquated.

[SPC Says: B]

Review code provided by CIRCLE Ent.

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