The Fairytale Kingdom will never be the same as Playlogic introduces Fairytale Fights for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Fairytale Fights is an intriguing brawler created to reunite gamers with their inner love for fairytales-- if fairytales starred Jason Voorhees that is. You would swear the team over at Playlogic are all vampires because this fairytale fighter is one for the bloodsuckers! So inch a little closer to see what’s really hiding under Grandma’s sheets.
If you didn’t see the opening “Playlogic” logo flash on the screen you could easily mistake Fairytale Fights for a game developed by RARE. Fairytale Fights feels like a type of game RARE would have made if they where just a little bit more twisted. Immediately after loading up the disc Fairytale Fighters reminded me of the blocky cartoon styled of Grabbed by the Ghoulies (2003) combined with the wrong-but so right humour of Conker. Even the action is similar, although Fairytale is more simplified then a RARE title, it has the violence and subtleties their classic titles. The similarities don’t stop there, in a sort of six degrees of Kevin Bacon way, Fairytale Fights plays a little bit like the Microsoft published Whacked! (2002) That premiered as an original Xbox launch title. What’s the connection with RARE? Well Microsoft now owns RARE. Lastly, Fairytale Fights is a RARE title period—and not in RARE game developing way, its simply rare—as in unusual. So if I have peeked your interest, lets continue.
Who's the Fairest in the Land?
In basics Fairytale Fighters is a hack’n’slash platform adventure game that takes our beloved fairytales from our past and twists them into something more evil, more violent. The back-story in this bloody tale has the player involved in a bloody-thirsty fight against evil forces that overtook the land. Each heroes is looking to save the land while earning respect and recognition. The lead characters are “Little Red” from Ridding Hood fame but this Little Red isn’t so sweet, or innocent in Fairytale Fights. This red is more than a food basket deliver-- she is a deadly killing machine! Along with Little Red you can also play as the fairest in all the land “Snow White”, the man who deals up magic beans “Jack”, and “The Emperor” from The Emperor’s New Clothes.
Grand Theft Kettle
Opening this bloody storybook will get you started on the first chapter entitled "Grand Theft Kettle". Starting in the search for a giant kettle you will journey down the remorseless path of violence that instantly slaps a wall of dynamics over the characters we have all come to know over our lifetime. Fairytale Fights doesn't have much depth behind its plot, although the themed levels that make up each chapter (20+) feel unique while adding enough variation. The first themed level you will be placed deep in the heart of a forest that climaxes up to a final battle at a lumber mill. Lumberjacks will be your main enemy here in their many variations. Along with those flannel wearing thugs you will have to fight against the trees themselves armed with deadly wooden chainsaws! To keep things rolling you will also have to deal with two boss characters before you finish up a well rounded introduction into Fairytale Fights. I’ll spoil the first two for you provide the rest of the review spoiler free.
** Boss Spoilers **
The first boss you'll meet is a giant sized "Evil Beaver" that will give your character a run for their money through more than one set pieces. You'll do battle with this evil beast in his territory, in the middle of a river on a raft... and just when you thought it was over, its starts up all over again. This could be considering fishing to needlessly extend the game, but under these circumstances it works.
The second boss character is none other than Pinocchio. Its fitting that the wooden boy would be a boss battle in a forest level, however this isn’t the Pinocchio you remember. This Pinocchio is a big wooden monster with the ability to slice your body in half. The battles here are nothing more than watching and learning the boss patterns (like every game) so have fun having a good chuckle while you make your enemy bleed and vomit in pain. The rest of the characters you will have to meet for yourself and like the enter theme in Fairytale Fights each boss character will be a twisted take on a classic fairytale character from the past.
Dressed It Up and Repeat
After that the rest of the game feels like a dressed up version of each previous level, but this is mainly because of the combat. To break things up a bit there are number of platforming sections with deadly traps to watch out for, all while you fight of the enemy and progress to the next section. A few of the areas can become a little bit dull because of the constant theme running throughout a level, but in Fairytale’s defence it is quite create for what it has. Expect to see everything from spooky killer cat machines to the simple act of a spinning buzzsaw. There is a lot of variety in Fairytale Fights and will delight anyone who is a fan of alternative fairytale products.
Blood by the Buckets
Fairytale Fights is one of the most gore filled games you will play this year. The cutesy graphics give out an illusion of niceness, but this game has gallons of blood being spilled by the second thanks to the “Volumetric Liquid System”, and bodies being pummelled and sliced to death. It is fair to say Fairytale Fights is razor sharp and rated with a strong “M”. This razor sharp gameplay is labelled “Dynamic Slicing Technology- Salami Violence” by Playlogic and it lets you have full control over how you slice-up your enemies. Limbs will slice off like butter as you rag-doll the hell out of the enemies in a sea of body parts and blood! Amplifying the Salami Violence even further is a PnP window that pops up when you really do a number on the enemy. It's safe to say, 'this one's not for the kids'
Before you even start up Fairytale Fights you might as well get used to think of dismembering hundred of enemies and being dismembered yourself. Death is a big part of Fairytale Fights and even your character will be downed several times in each level-- no matter how good your gaming skills are. Fairytale Fights allows the player an unlimited amount of lives and once you roll through the first level you will realize why. It’s not that the game is overly difficult, its more that the controls are little loose which makes you loose your footing at times. Also the ground in usually soaked in gallons of the strawberry coloured blood that acts like a slip-and-slide lubricant for the ground, and like spilling the blood there is even an achievement for sliding around in it.
How can something so cute, be so deadly?
The graphics in Fairytale Fights is simply cute-- in a twisted way. The blocky cartoon look that is edged with creative impulses and lots of colour really works within the context of the material. It is refreshing to see the addition of colour into the worlds because creative properties always go towards blacks and grays when they want to give something a sinister tone, well Fairytale does this without being cliché. The game could actually be compared with something out of Tim Burton’s Willy Wonky and the Chocolate Factory. It has that bright, cheerful and yet evil blending that makes for an interesting backdrop to explore.
The use of the Unreal 3 graphics engine is running under the hood in this one. Playlogic outsourced some of the graphical work to Sparx Animation Studios, the guys behind the animated film Igor (2008) which had a similiar alternative-fairytale vibe. The animations are small an limited compared to other fighters, but for what they added into the mix, it works. It's hard to give too much praise to Fairytale Fights because in all honesty it can't compare the big blockbusters, and the load-times are surprisingly longer than you would expect, however it has its own charm that will keep you interested in what is coming around the bend.
Shh... Less Talk- More Action
The audio side of Fairytale isn’t as boisterous as the graphics and is a simple little affair. The music sticks to a slow jazz type feel which provides great contrast to the bloody action, however its a little too much and the music isn’t dynamic enough compared to visuals. Aside from the music, Fairytale doesn’t have any voice-over work and sticks to the Nintendo soundtrack of little squeaks out of the characters. The most noise your going to get out of Fairytale Fights are the budging sounds of killing along with the quick “snik” from a sharp blade. There are little atmospheric effects but like the music it’s just not enough. It is too bad a little more time didn’t go into the sound development into because it could have really made the game pop.
The Fairytale Borderlands
If you thought Borderlands had a lot of weapons, you should check out the numbers in Fairytale. It might not have the 1 Bazillion boast of Borderlands, but it has 140 variations of good decapitating fun. The variety here is really stunning and when you come across a new weapon you will likely grow an evil grin on your face when you imagine dismembering an enemy these play-toys. For a quick look at them here are some of the weapons you will find in Fairytale Fights, each one kills in a unique way with different power ratings from 1 to 5 stars. The system goes something like this. [1 Star Weapons] Trash Can, Mailbox, Pliers. [2 Stars] Ratchet, Nutcracker, Crossbow. [3 Stars] Wooden Chainsaw, Cake Mixer, Rake [4 Stars] Jawbreaker Candy Gun, Pitchfork, Giant Needle [5 Stars] Scythe, Giant Scissors, Giant Key. Now that’s a pretty diverse list and its only 15 items, you can just imagine the other 125 weapons. Along with all these tools of destruction there are potions you can drink or throw at your enemies like a love potion that either regain your health, or stun an enemy.
Controlling all these weapons is done with the right thumbstick acting as your attacks while the other thumbstick controls your movement. This control scheme works well for the mayhem in Fairytale Fighters even though it’s something you normally find in an arcade styled shooters like Mutant Storm, or Robotron. The only problem with using your thumbstick as the sole attack button is that you don’t have any variation on your attacks besides the weapons themselves, and then even they don’t feel any different. Swinging a giant swordfish is the same as attack with a newspaper, and that’s just not right. Something like weight distribution to the weapons or other buttons modifiers along with the thumbstick could have worked. Even though this example is pulled from left field, something similar to Fight Night Round 4 (2009) would have worked.
Plays With Others
Lastly, Fairytale Fighters can be played as a solo game or with friends. Online you can hook up for multiplayer arena death matches, or play through the entire single player campaign. Before you run straight to the campaign be advised to switch the dismembering kill window off because it will restrict the viewing screen when it pops up. This window is basically a zoomed in feature that takes a closer look at your enemy kills. In the single player game it’s never a big issue when it pops up showing you an awesome kill, however like I stated it can block the screen and the other players will be lost underneath the window for a brief second or two. I can see Fairytale Fights being fun for a while, but its hard to see this game taking up a whole night of co-op fun compared to something like Left 4 Dead, or a sports title.
Fairytale Fights isn't a perfect game as it has already come under heavy criticism from all corners of the internet, but I absolutely enjoyed my time in this fantasy world of death, decapitation and dismemberment. For what Fairytale Fights sets out to accomplish it does so triumphantly. The big deal here is the price, and as it stands Playlogic is asking full retail value for the game, so that means Fairytale Fights is going to be the same price as something as involved as Dragon Age. The price tag on this one should really be cut (and I’m sure it will be) to recommend it for most gamers. –unless you’re a little twisted and love the thought of slicing up buckets of blood, fairytale fights might not be for you. Love it—hate it—it’s definitely and interesting entry in the game marketplace and should be checked out if you're even remotely interested.
Gameplay:7.0, Graphics:7.0, Sound:5.5, Innovation:6.5, Mojo:7.0 Final: 6.6 / 10
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 11.20.09
- A varied and diverse line-up of weapons (over 100)
- Great visual style
- Twisted Happy Tree Friends vibe
- Gore lovers, this one slice and dices with the best of them
- Funny, intelligent and fun atmosphere
- Fast paced combat that is easy to learn
- Interesting themed designed levels
- Levels are multi-layered in all directions
- Combat is very basic
- Price point is a too high!
- Graphics have style, but are a little behind the times
- Might be a little too odd for most
- Lacks variety in the gameplay
- Some viewing problems in multiplayer
- Thumbstick controls aren't always responsive