REVIEW – Fairune 3DS eShop

Fairune BannerSimplifying Zelda –

With a new spin on the classic Zelda formula, Fairune is a retro action adventure that simplifies everything and is surprisingly well done.

This Temple and Alter play a big part.
This Temple and Alter play a big part.

Fairune takes the combat and RPG leveling mechanics of the vastly overlooked and superbly addicting Witch And Hero, another Circle Entertainment game, but puts them into a Zelda-like overhead adventure. Instead of pressing a button to attack, the player simply walks into enemies and either kills them instantly or receives damage depending on the level of the player and the level of the enemy. It might sound boring and non-interactive but actually works surprisingly well, similar to how Half Minute Hero cut out all the fluff and just gets straight to the meat of the game. It is a balanced system built around constant progression and a sense of accomplishment as the journal item always tells the player the next beast to slay.

The 8-Bit visual style is fantastic
There is a secret passage here. Can you spot it?

Taking control of an unnamed female hero, the player is tasked with collecting a series of items and defeating throngs of enemies to rid a land of darkness. Like Zelda, the player will soon find a sword for combat and eventually different items to further progress into the campaign. As in Link’s original adventure, there is little indication on where to go next or what exactly to do but that is the point – exploration. The world is small enough that backtracking might only take a moment but still large enough to welcome exploration spread through different types of environments. Even though the player will inevitably get stuck on occasion, each puzzle is never too difficult and the adventure is bliss from beginning to end. Pushing a stone, walking through a hidden line of trees, or using an item on a specific tile will usually do the trick to move forward. Even death is handled in a player-friendly thoughtful way and the final boss battle changes things up with an old-school shooter mechanic.

The Tower section has tricky puzzles and high leveled knights
The Tower section has tricky puzzles and high leveled knights

With overhead tile-based gameplay, the player can either use the d-pad or Circlepad for movement and the only other form of input is bringing up the menu to use an occasional item like placing a statue on an alter for activating a healing location. Again, gameplay is simple but thoughtful, eliminates any complication so any player can immediately pick up and play, and keeps exploration at the forefront. The main menu also allows the player to save at any time.

This diary acts as your guide
This diary acts as your guide

Outside of the finely tuned gameplay, Fairune’s overall presentation is also simplified but yet classically charming. The generic 8-bit visual style works exceedingly well and any retro gaming fan will immediately fall in love with. But if the adorable sprites and colorful environments weren’t captivating enough, the soundtrack is hauntingly good. Seriously, the soundtrack is so enchanting you will want to just sit and listen to the unlockable jukebox mode once the 2-3 hour campaign is finished – I did. With about a dozen tracks, there is more quality in the soundtrack and visual aesthetic in this $2.99 download that many full retail games. It really is nothing short of impressive.

Finished in 2.5 hours
Finished in 2.5 hours

Circle Entertainment continues to release top-tier gaming experiences for minimal cost and has become one of my favorite game studios. Like most of their other titles, Fairune is an unexpected gem that eShop downloaders should not overlook.




Also Available On: iOS
Also Try: Neutopia (TG-16 on Wii Virtual Console)
Wait For It: Witch & Hero 2


By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz

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