Fairytale Fights (360)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, November 26, 2009

Graphics: 5.00
Sound: 5.00
Gameplay: 3.50
Replays: 3.00

Fairytale Fights is clearly one of those games that sounded better on paper. After all, the idea of an Xbox 360/Playstation 3/PC title themed around dark/deranged takes on traditional fairytales that involve killing everything in sight certainly sounds appealing. But unfortunately when it comes to execution Playlogic seems to have missed the point as the game ends up being one of the least enjoyable to have come out in recent memory.

Before I get to what exactly is wrong about this title, let’s discuss what the developers actually managed to get right. First, while the graphics aren’t exactly the best they do make decent use of the Unreal Engine and manage to do justice to the unique art style that is prevalent throughout the course of the game. The overall look and feeling of Fairytale Fights matches up well with traditional fairytale imagery and everything has a very cartoony look to it, even when there are buckets of blood spewing from every enemy that you decapitate. While the character models aren’t that highly detailed (this is evident when the camera zooms in or during cutscenes), the way in which they meld their art style into the three dimensional world makes them appear a little better than they actually are. Unfortunately, despite these positive elements there are a number of flaws that are apparent right off the bat. First, there are quite a few glitches that appear during the game such as air walking and clipping that makes one wonder just how much bug testing was done on this title. And secondly, the camera often does its best to try and piss you off. It seems strange that a game that is focused on platforming and combat likes to zoom the camera as far out as possible, making it really hard to see your character and tell if you are actually hitting an enemy or going to make a jump. This really hurts the game, and it is sure to lead to plenty of frustrated players. The game also shows decapitation animations when you kill enemies with a sharp weapon, and while these are cool at first they take up almost a quarter of the screen which makes it even harder to tell what is going on.

Fairytale Fights is split between two different game modes: Arena and Quest. These can be accessed from Taleville (the game’s main hub) or from the quick menu, and while in Taleville players can change their characters and build statues of their in-game characters with coins that they have accumulated. Chances are that Quest will be where the majority of players spend their time as this is the main single player component. Quest offers three difficulty levels and allows for local and online co-op split over several different chapters that encompass various fairytales. There isn’t really much of a story to the game other than the fact that your character is trying to maintain their reputation by completing various quests and killing as many things as possible. This is unfortunate, as considering that the developers were working with fairytales as their inspiration there is a lot more that they could have done with this concept. However, it is unlikely that most people who pick this campaign will see the game through to its end because of the extreme repetition and terrible controls (more on that later). Every single level in the game consists of fighting waves and waves of enemies, flipping switches, solving simple puzzles, conquering some platforming challenges, and fighting bosses that have simple patterns. This may not sound that bad, but considering that all four of the characters control exactly the same (you can pick from Red Riding Hood, the Naked Emperor, Jack, and Snow White) and there is no sense of progression gamers will find themselves tiring of the game quickly. There are a ton of weapons to choose from, but with no level-up system or weapon deterioration there is really no reason to care. In addition to this, there is no real penalty for dying as when you die you simply lose some coins and respawn. And considering that coins are only used to build a statue in Taleville, there is no reason to worry about how many times you die (the game does give you a rank at the end of the level but this is only useful if you want an achievement for getting all A’s).

If you can convince a friend to play Fairytale Fights with you, they can tackle the aforementioned Quest mode with you in co-op (with or without friendly fire) or compete in various Arena challenges. This is actually not a bad addition to the game as it gives players a variety of different stages to play in and each one has some different elements to take into consideration. I was actually quite pleased to discover that the developers did seem to put some time into this mode as the levels are completely different from the main Quest, but it is unfortunate that the core gameplay is so terrible.

Speaking of said gameplay, this already repetitious title is ruined by controls that are extremely floaty and unpredictable. Rather than having the player attack with a face button, the developers decided to make it so that all of the attacks are controlled using the right analog stick, not unlike in Fight Night Round 4. This proves to be an extremely poor decision though, as it makes it extremely difficult to target specific enemies. The majority of time the best way to try and defeat a crowd of enemies is to just wiggle the analog stick wildly while facing towards the enemy you want to hit and hope for the best. Blocking is handled via the left trigger, but as attacking can often make you face a different direction than you expected it is extremely difficult to block effectively. In addition to this, the controls feel very floaty overall and your character has the tendency to keep moving a little bit after you have left off of the analog stick which makes platforming sections more about luck than skill. Because of how bad the controls are Fairytale Fights just isn’t fun, and players will more than likely quit after less than an hour unless they have a very high level of patience.

The sound in Fairytale Fights is minimal but does fit the style and theme of the game quite well. The music used in the game is often quite whimsical and matches the quirky art design, but it is often very soft and players will find that when they play the game they don’t always notice what song is currently playing. The sound effects are also decent (there are some pretty hilarious death sound effects), but surprisingly there is no dialog and no voices as the game’s cutscenes rely on facial expressions and sound effects rather than giving the characters any real sense of personality.

This is certainly a game with a decent concept, but Playlogic is certainly not the developer capable of doing it justice. While Fairytale Fights may have sounded cool as soon as you try and play it becomes apparent just how many issues the game has. It’s a shame, as there are some decent features hidden within this title that could have been fun if the controls hadn’t been so bad and the entire single player campaign wasn’t so repetitive. Overall, unless you’re really set on playing a game with the fairytale gone wrong concept do yourself a favor and avoid this game.

Overall Rating: 4.00

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