She's got a little rock the size of Arkansas on her pinky finger. Her ballroom dress is impeccably tailored, sporting offset pinstripes … And she's about to make you an offer you can't refuse.
TheFairy Godmother (purveyor of endless magical phenomena, slayer of stigmatizing social strata, champion metaphor builder -- you know the one) is watching her family business slowly dissolve. Up-and-coming rivals are out to wrest the potion-making monopoly from her hands, and frankly, she needs a young blood to inject some life into her stagnating business. This is the precise moment you're called upon in this funny ha-ha take on timeless, family-friendly stories. Or horror stories, or cautionary tales, depending on your take.
Armed with plenty of confidence but few words, you're brought before the Fairy Godmother just as her business is on its last legs, and you'll have to sharpen your business savvy against puffing magic dragons, not-so-handsome princes, Goldilocks and co., and many other twisted little versions of the usual suspects.
Each level begins in a similar vein, as you're introduced to a corporate rival (some make reappearances further along the rabbit trail) and set up shop in a corner of town. A suitable tutorial -- despite being vague about too many technicalities, so as not to overwhelm -- is narrated by a quintessential grandpa figure, Paulie Sugarplums. His toothless, good-natured smile introduces you to the most important concepts involved in turning you from a bright-eyed entrepreneurial hopeful … into a media and big-industry mogul.
Starting out small is a boon to your sanity, since successive game levels (expectedly) add multiplying levels of conundrums to keep you business sense and multi-tasking muscles toned and flexed. Each village you wring from the competition will be composed of several rounds, each round composed of several phases to set you up for success.
One sometimes-exhausting aspect of each village is the fact that you start at the very bottom rung of the ladder of success, every time, with zero customers, zero popularity amongst the populace, and very few funds to get the ball rolling. But there's a slow-burning victory dance you'll feel in your head as your hard work and perseverance begins to tip the scales in your favor, and you approach each level's end-game absolutely stomping the competition into ruthless submission; until they're left with no other option than to close shop and pack their bags for not-so-green pastures.
But to get there you'll have to navigate some cleanly intuitive, tycoon-minded screens: reports, news and weather, supplies, pricing, marketing, upgrades, local characters, and research. Word to the wise: if you're thinking this might be a shallow kiddy-game, you're in for a wake-up call, Rip Van Winkle. There's a reasonable amount of depth here to keep your calculator clacking, while there's also plenty of tools (namely the recipe cookbook) that'll simplify a lot of the fourth-grade math that drives Fairy Godmother Tycoon's economy.
To oversimplify, but to walk you through a decent round of gameplay, you begin on the reports screen. Here's where you can see charts of your progress, percentages of the people that checkmark your box in a popularity contest, and generally measure the amount of customers you pleased or ticked off.
Most importantly is the news and weather screen, which predicts the level of curses that will afflict the meandering populace the next day. These curses range from Cupid-induced broken hearts, to ego-swollen big heads (literally), to percentile chances of appearing naked in public (hat tip: The Emperor's New Clothes). Don't worry. Black censor bars strap themselves across their animated, uh, fairy tails.
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