Now that I’ve had time to really sit down with the final version of Fearless Fantasy, I feel about the same as I was when I first previewed the game. For what it is, Fearless Fantasy offers a tightly focused and enjoyable combat system which showcases some nice ideas – ideas that can perhaps benefit from more development in the future, and more importantly, benefit from better and more complementing technology. It presents rather whimsical and humorous cast of characters that parodies and pays homage to Japanese role playing tropes. Parodies can be cringe inducing if not done properly, but Fearless Fantasy doesn’t overdo it with its sly sense of humor and fun character chemistry. In many ways, the writing and humor is almost akin to The Bard’s Tale, which is probably the best example of how to successfully create a parody role playing game that actually plays well as a game too. Fearless Fantasy has a typical good versus evil + princess in distress premise that never takes itself seriously and isn’t shy about poking fun at the irony of it all. The voice acting is strangely charming, and you can sense that the voice actors had a lot of fun portraying these characters. The animated cutscenes have a cool flair about them too, with a rustic brown aesthetic like an old medieval scroll.
The game’s interesting visual style is the first thing that really stands out about it. The paper-doll aesthetics of the characters and enemies during battle sequences can be a little unsettling at first, but they help give the game a unique identity. The visuals are pretty crisp and colorful, with plenty of variety and creativity in the downright creepy monster designs. Whether you’re a fan of the visual style or not, you can still appreciate Fearless Fantasy for having a distinctive look because lord knows we need another anime inspired tryhard. Fearless Fantasy is a streamlined RPG in which you essentially work through a series of battles, punctuated by story sequences and opportunities to purchase items and equipment. So it has none of the fodder that is customary of RPGs: no bland overworld, no dungeons to explore, and no towns. Obviously these are glaring omissions for a RPG, but Fearless Fantasy has a clear objective from the get go, and so being such a stripped down RPG becomes the game’s strength. Thus making Fearless Fantasy a fun casual RPG for those who don’t have the time to invest or indulge, and want to simply enjoy a RPG like atmosphere with more focus on hands-on gameplay.
With so much focus on battles, Fearless Fantasy actually delivers nicely. The turn-based battle system makes sole use of swipes and gestures to perform the many attacks, special moves, and spells. You can’t sit back and watch like you would in most turn-based battles systems, this one requires the player’s full involvement in the execution of attacks rather than just passively cycling through menus. With such a hands-on approach, the battles can be quite fun and challenging, especially with the later bosses and enemy encounters where even a minor slip up with your mouse can cost you. Yes I mentioned mouse, because all the swipes and gestures in the battles can only be done with a mouse. It works well enough for sure but with the technology currently available the use of the mouse feels quite redundant, especially when there are so many touchscreen alternatives out there on both consoles and mobile devices. In many ways the system in Fearless Fantasy really resembles the creative combat system from BioWare’s lesser known and highly underrated classic: Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. Yes, that Sonic themed RPG showcased a swipe heavy battle system much similar to what’s in Fearless Fantasy. Of course, Sonic Chronicles benefited from the use of the stylus and DS touchpad. So with that said, Fearless Fantasy certainly had all the right elements to really be complemented by touch technology, and so the lack of it feels like a missed opportunity… but not for long though, as at the time of writing this review the game’s developer and publisher very recently confirmed that they are working on a touch-enabled port of Fearless Fantasy for mobile devices.
Fearless Fantasy does well at what it sets out to do, offering a weird but likable aesthetic backed by a whimsical premise and quirky cast of characters. The streamlined design works to its advantage with a hands-on battle system that does a nice job of getting the player more involved. While the software itself is soundly designed, however, the omission of touchscreen technology support is quite glaring and would have enhanced the game’s tightly focused battle engine. The use of mouse, while functional and serviceable, takes away from the true potential of the gesture-heavy gameplay. As it stands now, though, Fearless Fantasy is still a nicely streamlined role playing battle marathon.