Developer: Enter Skies
Platforms: PC, iOS, Android
Release Date: May 14th (iOS), June 2nd (Android), May 15, 2014 (PC)
Price:$3.99 (App Store/GooglePlay Store), $6.99 (Steam)
A review copy of the game was provided for the purposes of this article.
Fearless Fantasy seeks to be a few things at once it seems. It is a parody of RPGs that feature the sort of tropes we’re used to, a glib main character that is far too cool for his own good and a damsel in distress. Thankfully she isn’t in distress for too long and, instead, joins the fight. It isn’t long after that our the classic bruiser joins the mix and the core of the team is formed. It seems the formerly-in-distress damsel is trying to avoid a forced marriage to a madman and they’re stuck in the middle of a landscape full of outlandish and, sometimes, nightmarish creatures to slice their way through.
Full disclosure before we go any further with the review. The version I played was the iOS version and those expecting a deep experience in regards to character building, storytelling and so forth should perhaps look elsewhere. Fearless Fantasy has a few great things going for it, though, that make up for the lackluster story (though it only takes about 3-4 hours at most to play to completion on the base difficulty).
Raise Your Sword, Boy
Combat is the star of the show here. The system, at first glance, appears to be the sort of classic turn-based RPG action we all know and love. Once an action is selected it is time to make sure it actually hits the target. The required taps and swipes will vary by character but all require precise timing to pull off. Those timing windows only get shorter as the game rolls on into the latter half. There is a satisfaction to be found in making the perfect swipe on a slashing attack. If a player is flawless in executing a Special Attack, for example, there are added bonuses attached. A single target attack might suddenly have 50% of its damage spread to the rest of the enemy grouping thanks to those successful motions. Defense is done in the same way with required presses, taps and swipes needed to make sure enemy attacks are diminished in strength or outright dodged as well.
This is a prime example of a game that was, honestly, made to be on a mobile platform such as a tablet or phone. The PC release, no doubt, featured the same sort of combat though it made use of the mouse to accomplish its combat objectives. The trajectory of slashing attacks, the downward thrust of hammer blows and the precise presses and swipes to fire that killing blow offer a surprising amount of fun. It also adds an active element that is sorely needed to keep things interesting in regards to combat.
Weird Creatures In A Strange Land
The combat might be the true thrust of Fearless Fantasy but the decidedly lunatic artistic direction will be what draws the eye. Creatures throughout the adventure of FF will surprise you. There is a definite Tim Burton feel to many of them and the influence is heavily felt in the numerous touches given to the minor and major threats throughout.
One of the first enemy types you’ll encounter along the way is a sort of pear-shaped winged beast that has stark stripes that are reminiscent of the big sand worms from Burton’s Beetlejuice. Then it opens its maw and a smaller one creeps out to attack. Nope. Time to kill it with fire. The sounds that accompany many of the monsters are, accordingly, odd and even a bit off-putting.
Oddities aside one of the other things that stand out is the voice-acting. All the characters are fully voiced and, though there is zero confirmation of this, it sounds like Steve Blum and Christopher Sabat lent their talents to the male characters. That or there are some great impersonators out there. It was a welcome addition to the game that glossed over the rather minimal narrative present. The antagonist is, appropriately, shrill and a bit annoying but it works well.
Enter Skies’ Fearless Fantasy, a clear labor of love from a two-man studio, features a classic trek across a strange land mixed with a somewhat dorky humor that works for the most part. The creature design is odd and fully inspired by the likes of Tim Burton. The fully voiced characters help to gloss over a scant story along with a combat system that knocks it out of the park on mobile platforms. Swipes and taps to executed attacks and special moves feel satisfying and serve to keep the player engaged. Higher difficulties and lower timing windows make for a greater challenge for those who want it too. This is a game that started as a PC title but has clearly found its home on mobile. A great buy at the price and worth the time spent.