The docile monsters of Kitaria have started attacking citizens and it's up to you to discover what's happening while living off the land.
The first thing you'll notice when booting up Kitaria Fables is how adorable its graphics are. You play as a cute cat who hangs out with friends of many different animal species ranging from exotic bears and tigers to domestic mice, rabbits, and even chinchillas. The 3D character models are adorable and their little 2D portraits are even cuter. The fact that you get to pick the colour of the main character's coat then dress them up in all manner of outfits and accessories is the cherry on top. I always love when you buy a piece of equipment in a game and it actually changes the appearance of your character.
Kitaria Fables' scenery is also quaint whether you're hanging out on your farm, hiking through forests and swamps, climbing snowy mountains, or catching rays on the beach. There's plenty of detail put into the environments including variations in the visuals as time shifts from dawn to night. Plus, the soothing orchestral soundtrack makes a lovely backdrop and changes depending on where you are in the world.
You might be drawn to Kitaria Fables for the farming, especially if you're a Harvest Moon or Story of Seasons fan like I am. There is farming in Kitaria Fables and you have quite a large space to plant many different kinds of crops. However, it's quite simplistic as all you do is purchase seeds, plant them, water them, and then harvest the resulting vegetation. There's no complex gameplay here like trying to grow seeds of better value with fertilizer or randomly growing a big plant like you'll see in other farming games. Unlocking seeds is about as interesting as it gets and you'll do so by completing side-quests.
One thing that Kitaria Fables does really well with farming is that it makes it easy to plant and water seeds in multitude. In fact, I'd even say it's got the best mechanic for this compared to any other farming sim I've played. This is particularly useful because farming will likely be your main source of income. I had to keep a huge farm running 24/7 in order to fulfill my financial needs. I constantly felt like I was penniless in Kitaria Fables but if they lowered the cost for upgrading some of your equipment, it would have helped balance it out a little. Instead, I found myself watering my plants then going to bed immediately a few days in a row so that I could sell them and finally make some cash. Thankfully, the passage of time has no real bearing on the story so napping for days is quite doable with no consequences.
After you water your plants for the day, you can venture into the world and take on quests. There's a good amount of quests available but I must admit that I got lost on a few occasions when I seemed to be fulfilling side-quest after side-quest without seeing any updates to the story for many hours. Kitaria Fables could use some better balancing between the 2 types of quests so that the player always has a sense of how far along they are towards the main story goal. I also got a little frustrated at the quests that had vague descriptions as I wasted time goofing around unsure if I was even close to finding the quest item. Side-quests vary between finding, growing, and delivering specific items to talking to NPCs while main quests serve to push along your exploration of the world and unlock new areas.
The world of Kitaria is somewhat large with a solid variety of locations but the developers could have gone even further to make it truly epic. I managed to unlock all areas without a ton of effort so the excitement of exploring a new location disappeared quite quickly. To get around the map, teleportation is an option but the portals are too few and far between meaning you'll spend a lot of time running back and forth through the same areas repeatedly. What makes this more tedious is that there's no level-up system.
Therefore, the only reason to fight monsters is to collect the items they drop and if you're running through an area where you have no interest in the monster drops, you'll probably just run right through and wish there was a way to teleport instead. In addition to this, there are no maps other than the main overworld one and some areas such as the swamp can be difficult to navigate without one. The combination of few portals, minimal healing items, and no level-up system mean you might croak before you find the exit.
The monster battles in Kitaria Fables are handled quite well with each monster having different attacks which are telegraphed right before they strike. This allows you to roll out of the way quickly and perhaps hit them with a counter-attack. When faced with multiple enemies all with their own attack ranges, it can be quite a challenge to keep dodging and hitting while you avoid them and it was moments like this that I really got into the combat. There's a good variety of bosses, too, and finally taking them down can be exceptionally rewarding. Having said that, a handful of the bosses are extremely difficult and seemed to kill me with 1 or 2 measly hits. Some of these bosses weren't even in later parts of the game, making them feel more like random difficulty spikes.
In terms of equipment, you can focus on either melee attacks with a sword or ranged attacks with a bow and arrow. There are quite a few levels to unlock on both weapons and you have to amass a good amount of materials and cash to do so. Besides the 2 main weapons, there are also spells that you can unlock by finding the right items and trading them with the sage. Spells of different elements are available and can be set to shortcuts so they can easily be used in battle. I found a mixture of spells along with melee attacks to usually get the job done and although I didn't end up unlocking all of the spells, I did use quite a few and enjoyed the extra boost of power that the higher-up ones provided. I would have liked to see more healing and buff spells, though, because maintaining my health bar was difficult and I spent a lot of time and money on growing fruits and vegetables simply to create healing items.
Along with increasing the power of weapons and spells, you can also choose to increase your physical and magical defense via armour along with select from an assortment of accessories that can complement your armour. For example, you can equip an accessory that increases movement speed with high-level armour that slows you down. The variety of monster-dropped items and items to purchase is great and I found it quite rewarding when I finally managed to gather enough of an item to unlock an upgrade because each upgrade seems to make a huge difference in your success with the more difficult enemies and bosses.
With all of these items to collect, you might be thinking about inventory management. Unfortunately, this is not handled well. Before I complain, one thing that Kitaria Fables does well in this regard is that it allows you to pin certain recipes from shopkeepers so that at any moment, you can see what items are needed for an upgrade and spot a little star next to those items in your inventory. This helps prevent you from throwing out useful items. However, the fact that there's no central inventory system is very annoying.
Specifically, you have a small backpack to start; along with one chest in your hometown and you'll eventually save up enough wood and stone to unlock another 2 chests and expand your backpack slots. There's also a chest in another town that you'll travel to often as it has its own selection of shopkeepers. The fact that my inventory was split up between so many different locations meant that I struggled to keep it organised and found myself constantly travelling and opening my chests just to remember what's in them. The inventory really should be integrated between all locations and the total storage space combined to save time and frustration.
One nifty addition to Kitaria Fables is the ability to play local co-op with a friend. You can choose to have someone sit next to you, pick their feline of choice, and fight enemies with you as you travel. It's integrated seamlessly and exploring locations for the first time can be quite fun. If Kitaria Fables had a more epic map, I could see staying engaged with a multiplayer session for quite some time. However, once you unlock everything and find yourself constantly teleporting and farming for items, multiplayer becomes more of a chore.
Kitaria Fables is an adorable feline-filled action-adventure RPG with an enjoyable battle system, detailed scenery, and lovely character art. However, multiple quality of life issues prevent this good game from being a great one.
- + Adorable character art with a great variety of species on display
- + Mostly rewarding battle system
- + Variety of items to collect and create
- - Various quality of life issues around resource balancing and inventory
- - Farming gameplay is quite basic
- - Traversal can be slow and tedious