Fairytale Fights – Hands-on Impressions
Fairytale Fights is based on the idea that a group of characters – Red Riding Hood, Snow White, The Emperor with No Clothes and Jack of the Beanstalk – are becoming passe. So they have to hack and slash their way through Taleville to get their fame back.
When I picked up the controller to play Fights, I was anticipating something close to Conkers Bad Fur Day. You know – cute, crude-minded and crazy-coloured. I wasn’t completely disappointed on the Three C’s, but I wasn’t immediately drawn into the world either. The graphics, while being displayed on a decent sized plasma TV, around 34 inches, still seemed small. The playable sprites were tiny! I think I lost sight of my Little Red Riding Hood at least five times, and I’m only assuming it was her because she looked like she might have some red thing on her head. The world was bright, colourful and definitely cute enough to come from somewhere in the Pixar region of animation, but there was something slightly cut and paste about it all. For example, there are lumberjack characters that get their own still screen introduction but the only thing different between the four I fought? Hair colour. Maybe. I think three of them were blonde and my eyes were playing tricks on me.
Am I asking a bit much? Well … when you have games like Zelda: The Wind Waker clocking some beautiful cute graphics, I guess I’m spoiled. Rotten. Just call me Veruca Salt, because I want good graphics now, Daddy.
My preference for pretty pictures aside, I was more interested in how the game played, which was simply. A Button for jump, left joystick moves you around and waggling the right joystick attacks pretty much everything in sight with random attack moves, including any other player who happens to be near you. I’m pretty sure you can turn friendly fire off but I was buggered if I could find out how. Another niggly bit of gameplay was when you hacked or slashed an enemy/friend, half of the screen with taken up with a ‘SLASHED’ graphic for a good 3-4 seconds. When both players managed to do this simultaneous, it was “Goodbye visibility!” as the enemies kept on attacking behind the picture. According to the developers Playlogic, this is part of their ‘Salami Violence‘. They came up with an innovative new way to cut up characters so that the bits are lying around on the ground in any way you like! Facinating.
But don’t get me wrong. I didn’t completely hate this game into the ground. I enjoyed the splatter effect, which meant that mega-fuck-tonnes of blood drenched the area as you hacked through the baddies. You even slipped around a bit when you hit a particularily deep patch. You could also easily pick up anything lying around and use it as a weapon. My favourite was the bunny. Who would have thought hurling a small fuzzy rabbit into the head of a lumberjack could be so much fun?
The gross-out humour and the premise of the story also tickled my fancy. It’s always interesting to see what people do with those magic Public Domain characters (for a most excellent example, see Bill Willingham’s Fables comic series). Another aspect I’m interested in the downloadable content mentioned by the booth dude. If you register for the DLC in the first three months after the game comes out it will be free. They’re also promising the ability to play storymode online, along with big brawl battles which could be fairly interesting.
Overall, my impression was this game would probably be amusing with more than one player, friendly fire turned off. It seems to be that kind of ‘teamwork = fun’ game. Not sure about replayability, however. I get the feeling I’d play it a few times, see where the story went and then put it aside for something meatier. Maybe with more Salami.
Fairytale Fights is out already on Playstation 3, with Xbox 360 following on November 4th, through Playlogic. We previewed it on the Playstation 3 at the iDEF Expo.
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