Ever get tired of your current life and wish you could swap it for another? What if you could do that multiple times? Fantasy Life attempts to give gamers just that by offering the experience of multiple lives, which are essentially treated as jobs, to be tested out and eventually swapped with one another. Fantasy Life starts out by constantly reassuring players that choosing a life within the game doesn’t have to be a permanent commitment. In fact, the game highly encourages players to try out whatever they like. Behind all of the different types of jobs, quests, and other activities, Fantasy Life also features a story that guides them along just like a traditional role-playing game would. This is where problems begin to arise. Fantasy Life is really fun when the game lets you experiment with the classes, tackle quests, and level up your character. But for some reason, it never takes the training wheels off and makes the game boring with large amounts of uninteresting text and the overbearing puns. Fantasy Life is still a game worth checking out, but it constantly trips and hinders itself whenever it can.
Fantasy Life is an open world role-playing game with heavy amounts of structure. The bulk of the gameplay centers around the various lives you can take, and each life is based around a certain job. Jobs are broken up into several broad categories like collection, creation, and fighting. Collection classes are incredibly fun and addictive. The creation classes take those materials that you collected and create items that are far better than the ones you can purchase. And the fighting classes focus on attacking creatures. Each life has an opening story quest that works like a tutorial. The first life you take will basically guide you into this quest, and although it feels a bit slow it does do a good job at explaining the basics of the game. Whenever you take another life as your main focus, you can forgo the opening quest even though the game still suggests going through the training process. Although you can have multiple classes at the same time, you can only train and level one at a time. Also, if you were to swap out for another life you can no longer collect or create the higher level things you could before. Still, taking on a few classes at once that are similar in nature can actually be a really time saving idea in the beginning of the game.
Classes, and the character, can be leveled up by completing quests. One of the great things the title does is give gamers plenty to do. The quests are broken down into life quests, bliss quests (the game’s story mode), and smaller quests that are given by the inhabitants of the Fantasy Life world. The life based quests focus on you becoming better at your profession, so if you’re an angler, traveling the world and catching plenty of rare and unique fish will increase your skill. Bliss quests are given to you by your friend-by-convenience Butterfly, and are incredibly wordy and dry. These side quests touch on just about every aspect of the game. The story quests are really what bring the game down sadly. It’s not too uncommon for games to explain things pretty heavily in the early portions of the game. I’m also never upset with a game that takes the time to explain how it should be played. But at some point you have to let gamers do what they love: play video games.
Fantasy Life attempts to tell a story, but it isn’t very interesting. And when it could convey some information in a single text box or two, it instead chooses to use twenty. Many times throughout the experience I found myself not paying attention until the end of a conversation, or I would space out and realize I haven’t paid any attention to what the characters were saying, but for some reason it didn’t matter. I had all of the information I needed just by reading a sentence or two, so it felt like I was being overloaded with information. On top of the wordiness, Fantasy Life is also full of puns and unfunny jokes. When the characters in Fantasy Life find something they can make a pun about, boy do they really go at it. Also, certain characters will basically tell you their plot secrets during the first meeting. It’s hard to call finding out who certain characters really are a spoiler because through great length, they ensure that the player understands they’re somebody else instead. Outside of the story sections though, Fantasy Life has many addictive qualities thanks to the life and leveling systems.
3DS owners have been spoiled in the last couple of years as Nintendo and third parties have released a constant stream of worthwhile titles. Fantasy Life is another such game even though North Americans had to wait two additional years for it to be localized. The leveling system, different classes, and questing are all really fun elements that make Fantasy Life a role-playing game worth checking out. But be ready for an uninteresting, wordy, and overbearing story that gets in the way of the fun that the title does offer.