There is so much to say about Fantasy Life that it isn't even funny. To put it briefly, it is a cutesy and extremely fun game with a lot of elbow room and plenty to accomplish. It does seem a bit marketed toward a younger audience, but it certainly holds up on its own for a few older players as well. If you like games such as Zelda and Chantelise, you will definitely like this game.
Fantasy Life - Classes
The first part about this game that I really need to point out is the Job Classes, known in this game as your Life. You have creator Lives like Alchemist, Blacksmith, and Tailor. Forager Lives like Woodcutter, Miner, and Fisherman. And lastly you have battle Lives such as Paladin, Hunter, and Wizard.
You can switch between Lives at your leisure from the Guild Office as long as you are not in the middle of a quest. Each life has a 30-45 minute long introductory story that you can skip which introduces you to your Life Master and their assistants, all of which you rarely ever talk to again unless you are planning on getting a Life promotion.
I personally waded through each and every one of them just so I can say that I did that in this review. Some were cute, others were simply annoying and I regretted not saying "Skip!" so you better appreciate the effort I put into this for you all.
Each Life has a total of 8 (or 9, depending on if you include the Creator status) Promotions, if you will, when you complete a certain number of Challenges and get a certain number of Stars. It goes from Novice, Fledgling, Apprentice, Adept, Expert, Master, Hero, Legend. Each new promotion gets you either new skills or new challenges in order to get more rare items, craft faster, or attack stronger.
Fantasy Life - Skills
At a certain point you will learn Life Specific Skills, or skills that you can only use in a certain life. For instance, if you learn the Terra Former technique as a miner, you can mine to fill up your special skill gauge and release a powerful mining move that helps you get more rare items when mining.
I personally enjoyed the Woodcutter, Miner, and Blacksmith jobs best, and as a choice of battle, I chose Paladin. You can use skills you have received in other lives as well. For instance, I am only an Apprentice Paladin, but I was able to use a sword in other jobs, so I just stuck with Black Smith and Miner, of which I am an Expert Black Smith, and a Hero Miner.
It is possible to become a Legend in every single Life if you have enough time on your hands. I just finished Fantasy Life's story line, but I also worked on my Lives a little too, so it took me 55 hours just to get this far. And i still have a lot to do.
Fantasy Life - Gameplay
To play though the game it helps if you have some currency. In this game that currency is called Dosh. You can get Dosh in a number of different ways. You can create and sell items, you can forage for and sell items, or you can collect Bounties and bring them to the bounty clerk. The Bounty Clerk can be seen in any town's Guild Office, or in random locations throughout the map. Bounties can be found if you mine a large rock, cut a large tree, reel in a large fish, or if you defeat certain monsters on the map. I like how I can bring up to 3 bounties at a time to the guild office, but I dislike how that can be a challenge, since monsters can attack bounties, and thus destroy them.
Another way to earn some Dosh is through quests that you receive from the people around the map. Some people might ask for something simple, like a fetch quest, or "kill X number of baddies," but some may ask for something that is very rare and hard to find. But if you are able to complete these quests, you can return to the questgiver in order to receive some Dosh or a certain item.
The stats in this game are very confusing. You have your basic stats, which can be raised by leveling up and putting on equipment (I also like how smithing, mining, and fishing, etc, actually earns you level-up experience). You have your Skill levels, in which you can level up by using the skill more. Mining and using a shield or a sword among others all have a level in which mining, attack power, or defense rises when you use it often. Dashing also has a level up, as does each specific kind of magic ability, each specific kind of armor creation, etc as well. Armor smithing raises if you smith armor, weapon smithing raises if you smith weapons, etc.
As you progress through the game and meet new places, you can also buy new places to live. You can have up to 3 different homes in 3 different towns. This would otherwise just be a dull part of the game (you can also decorate your room with walls, floors, furniture, etc) but is actually pretty nifty.
If you desire to pay the purchase price of the houses, which can be as high as 100,000 Dosh, you can teleport to any of your houses at your content, which makes getting to certain areas so much easier. Instead of taking the blimp ride or walking all the way there, you can just warp there. You can also simply warp to your Life Master, as well as to the Guild Office.
Fantasy Life - Comedy
This game is full to the brim with witty humor, bad puns, and just plain unfunniness. At times the puns can be chuckle-worthy, but other times they can be outright dreadful! I would post a couple good examples, but I'd rather not ruin the few good ones for you. The mere names of many of your Life Masters and their Assistants are horrible puns. Forest the Woodcutter, Vulcan the Black Smith, Taylor the Tailor, Jynx the Wizard, etc.
In terms of the storyline, the whole thing revolves around your Butterfly partner. You might be doing all of the legwork, but it is the butterfly's story, not yours. You are no more than an altered and specially created vessel with no voice and very little impact of your own outside of the story and narrative of the butterfly, in which you serve to be fluff. And there is a lot of fluff. Lives, quests, etc, all fluff.
But how is the storyline on its own? Mediocre at best, I would say. It does have a fine characteristic where you are trying to save the world from destruction, but there are no bosses, no main villain, nothing. This game's whole purpose seems to be to break that mold; people you thought would be evil are not, and nobody acts the way you would expect from a typical RPG. It is certainly kind of unique from that end at least.
There is a wide variety of monsters and visuals in this game. Some only come out when it is night. Yes, the day goes on a day/night cycle, I believe the length of a cycle is about 40 minutes to an hour, and there is plenty to do regardless of the time of day.
The audio in this game is pretty good. You get to pick the voice of your character when they attack, and you get to choose what they look like, facial expressions, eyes, skin color, gender, etc. The music is pretty wonderful. When it turns to night in your game, you have night-time music, plus different music and sound effects for each town, and even when you are fighting a particularly hard bounty. Even if it is a Tree or a Rock. The graphics on this game are pretty childish, but they are not bad. They do appear a lot like Tales of Pirates or Chantelise.
You also get StreetPasses in this game. If you get a StreetPass by someone else who owns Fantasy Life, you will be able to find them standing around town. If you talk to them often, your friendship level will rise. And when it gets up to 100%, you are able to get an item, so long as that person selected an item to be given. Some people give crappy items, while others give very valuable and highly rare items. I guess it depends on how generous the person is. You don't lose an item by giving it up, so I don't know why you wouldn't.
Controls in this game are pretty smooth, but at points can be confusing. If you enable it, you can take pictures of anything in the game by pressing the start button. That is kind of confusing when you are trying to pause the game in order to do something and just randomly take a picture. Another annoying part is that you cannot pick up items unless your weapon is put away, and if you are a Wizard it gets even more confusing. The D-Pad chooses what spell you want to use, so if you are not careful, you might accidentally choose the wrong spell and end up healing yourself instead of throwing a fireball.
Be careful when playing this game, though. Remember to live your Real Life as you are leveling up in your Fantasy Life.
TechRaptor reviewed Fantasy Life on 3DS with a copy purchased by the reviewer. This review was originally published on 01-10-2015. While care has been taken to update the piece to reflect our modern style guidelines, some of the information may be out of date. We've left pieces like this as they were to reflect the original authors' opinions and for historical context.
This game was purchased by the reviewer and played on the 3DS.