I thoroughly enjoy playing old-school RPGs but they're rarely as great as Fairy Elements so let's dive in and see what makes it so special.
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Knights and demons
Fairy Elements tells the tale of a knight named Yamato who fights for his kingdom and after claiming victory, he's teleported 2 centuries into the future. As he ventures forth and makes new friends, he becomes a better-rounded individual and it's nice to see this amount of character growth in a smaller game. Meanwhile, the story is all about how a demon-like people can absorb Material to become stronger and the human-like people discover that they can utilize it as well albeit to build weapons. You play as a group of these folks with Yamato being the lead while Rick is a mysterious and cute fluffball with surprising strength, Tsubasa is a lively and heartfelt girl who can be a bit clumsy, and Harleck is a gun-wielding researcher who is often brash and contrasts wonderfully with the previous 2 chums. 😊 v1d30chumz 3-235-173-74
Before discussing the battles and dungeons, I'd like to describe how to make your party stronger since it's rather simple at its core yet there are some cool mechanics that make combat more rewarding. For starters, I love that equipment is reflected on the character sprites which is a wonderful touch that I always appreciate. Anyway, you equip a weapon and suit of armour on each party member then choose crystals which dictate a character's skills as well as offer specific boosts. Swapping these out can change your approach to battle drastically so experimenting with what works best is a big part of the fun. You can also fortify your weapons and armour with found resources and place them in cauldrons for immediate boosts yet there's substantial cooldown time. It's a rewarding process for sure. ⚔️
Fighting enemies in Fairy Elements is fairly straightforward as you mainly attack and use skills which is standard stuff. However, there are a couple of very cool elements that help break things up. First of all, characters can enter a special mode once their gauge is full that essentially makes them more powerful for a period of time so using it in tough boss battles is advised. On the more substantial side, you'll unlock a Material Gun partway through the campaign that can devastate your enemies after you load it with elemental charges then trigger it. When you factor in skills that can do things such as delay enemies' actions, you're looking at a lot of potential strategies that you can incorporate into combat. Plus, there are loads of ways to grind when you need to be stronger but I'll discuss those later.
The dungeons in Fairy Elements don't look particularly exciting with their mostly generic textures and tiled layouts but exploring them is quite a treat. The main reason why is that they're impressively large with many branching paths but what's even more notable is that there are no random battles. Instead, enemies have fields of vision and they randomly switch the direction they're facing so you can try to sneak by if you don't want to fight or approach from the rear if you'd like to take them on with their backs facing you for a bit of an advantage. Needless to say, exploring for treasures is satisfying stuff and considering you don't have to be bogged down by constant random encounters, you can feel free to wander around looking for goodies; as long as you're careful, that is. 😜
As promised, I'll talk about all of the extra content in Fairy Elements as there is quite a lot to sink your teeth into. One of the best ways to grind is to enter the battle area where you can challenge successions of monsters in order to claim prizes. There's a special dungeon called the Labyrinth of Time as well that tasks you with seeing how far you can climb complete with a super-tough boss at the top. There are some other aspects as well like a shop with premium currency that you can obtain in-game and side-quests for NPCs. 😄
Even with all of these excellent inclusions, Fairy Elements has its issues. One of the most annoying parts of its campaign is when you reach an incredibly difficult boss that will either force you to grind or temporarily lower the difficulty if you get too frustrated. Next, although I don't like criticizing artwork, a lot of the character art here seems like they paste the eyes and mouth on a basic outline because some of the expressions look downright goofy. Finally, I sometimes felt like the pace of things could use a boost. From battles that go on for too long to certain mundane dialogue scenes that I wish I could skip, it can become a bit patience-testing at times. 😴
I enjoyed my time with Fairy Elements so much that if someone told me that they're looking for an old-school RPG, it would be an easy recommendation. With tons of content and a challenging strategic battle system, there's a lot to love.
- + Spot-on old-school RPG gameplay with plenty of nifty growth mechanics
- + Enjoyable battles and exploration
- + Loads of extras to master
- - Some bosses pose steep difficulty spikes
- - Character art is too cut-and-paste
- - I wish you could speed things up more