Fairytale Fights

Review

posted 11/18/2009 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: 360
The problem is that far too much of this game revolves around you fighting everything that moves.  Sometimes you can run right by the bad guys, but often you will get locked in a room or area and have to fight your way out.  To the game developers this means that they can just keep throwing enemies at you all day long and you'll enjoy it.  There were plenty of times when I would fight through a dozen bad guys, only to be forced to battle a dozen more.  And when all that is over?  You guessed it, there's another room with just as many bad guys.  All this would be fine if the combat was even remotely interesting, but the simplistic combos and boring animations didn't do much for me.

I'll give Playlogic props for at least giving us a lot of weapons to use along the way.  There are four types of weapons that you can pick up throughout the levels (sword weapons, blunt weapons, magic weapons and ranged weapons).  In total there are more than 140 different weapons, including some really crazy stuff like a beer bottle, mailbox, flagpole, toothbrush, trumpet, flaming hammer, saw, ice cream sword, sickle, chainsaw, gun, bow and even a beaver on a spit, which is exactly what it sounds like.  The problem is that most of these weapons feel exactly like all of the other weapons, so you're not really getting 140+ different experiences.

Even if you somehow get addicted to the gameplay in the first couple levels, you'll end up hating the way it plays by the end of the game.  Each level plays out almost exactly the same, with you fighting level-specific creatures and making your way to the annoying boss battles.  There aren't any puzzles for you to solve and the platforming is simply an afterthought throughout much of the game.  In truth you will be overdosing on the same basic combat action over and over again, until you either turn off the system or give yourself a lobotomy.  Either way, you're never going to get the time you wasted back.

None of this would be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that each level is much longer than it needs to be.  Many of the levels end up taking around a half hour to complete, maybe longer if you have to deal with one of the game's horrible boss fights.  Worse yet, at no point can you save the game when you're in a level.  That means that you will either have to beat a level all the way through the first time or turn off the game and play it all over again.  I didn't know this going into the tedious fifth level, where I decided to turn off my system right as I got to the boss battle.  Nowhere in the instructions does it tell you how to save the game, so I went back to the main town expecting to come back to the action later.  Unfortunately I was forced to play through that 30 minute level all over again.  And I thought there was nothing worse than playing through the level the first time.

While it may not sound like a big deal on paper, the 30 minute levels are mostly made up of filler.  Each level has about five minutes of new ideas crammed into a half hour of agonizing gameplay.  Each level repeats the same types of platforming challenges, enemies and background designs.  And did I mention that there are almost two dozen levels in this game?  It's almost as if the game is trying to make you hate it as quickly as possible.


Oddly enough, it's not the game's difficulty that ends up getting in the way.  In fact, if you're just rushing through it the game is an absolute breeze.  Even though the enemies can be difficult (especially if you don't have a weapon in hand), there's no real penalty for dying.  If you die in a level you will come back to life in exactly the same spot, so you don't even have to backtrack.  In fact, the only real problem with dying is that you lose some of the coins you collected.  What do the coins do?  Nothing important!  This means that you can just keep dying and dying until you get sick of the game or beat it, whichever comes first.

To me the real offense isn't the repetitive gameplay or lengthy levels, but rather the fact that this game has so much untapped potential.  You get to go through a bunch of fairytale-inspired levels, yet none of them are fleshed out in any way.  You occasionally get to see other familiar faces, but even they are only around for a boss fight or two.  Playlogic could have just as easily taken all of the fairytale content out and you wouldn't even know the difference.  Heck, the story that goes along with this adventure is about as thin as the paper most of these fairytales were typed on.  This concept has so much potential, yet I couldn't get over how lazy the whole thing felt.  Even the main characters are nothing more than caricatures of famous heroes, which is a real shame given their set-up.
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