Review by Samantha Lienhard
Fantasy Life is an RPG created by Level-5 (the developers of Professor Layton, Ni No Kuni, and Yokai Watch, among others) with a soundtrack from longtime Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu. Fans of the Professor Layton series may recognize its basic structure from the mini-game Layton’s London Life, although greatly expanded.
Fantasy Life boasts an extensive class system that allows you to play the entire campaign even as a non-combat class, and has a structure similar to that of Xenoblade Chronicles or classic MMORPGs. Although it is not strictly open world, it has vast open areas to explore and an impressive amount of side quests.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the number of activities Fantasy Life throws at you. Side quests include crafting, gathering, and monster-killing quests among more interesting material, and each Life comes with its own set of challenges to complete.
The Life system is Fantasy Life’s version of jobs or classes. You can switch to a new Life at any point, and you increase your rank in it by completing its unique challenges. For example, an Angler’s challenges will revolve around catching certain fish, a Cook must prepare special meals, and a Paladin must defeat particular enemies. Different Lives appeal to different players and you can ignore any you dislike. Even if you never play as a combat class, you will be able to complete the entire main story.
Yes, there is a story for you to follow. While not the game’s strongest point, the story is cute and charming. However, for a game without a strong focus on narrative, Fantasy Life is surprisingly dialogue-heavy. This can get tedious, although the writing’s charm and humor usually prevail.
In terms of combat, it is a simplistic action RPG. Combat classes have a basic attack and a couple special attacks. Characters throughout the world, as well as your in-game pets, will become available to invite as party members after various events. You can invite two characters to your party at a time, and their affection for you grows as you complete tasks together. The higher a character’s affection is, the more likely they are to use a special attack.
Battles, crafting, gathering, and side quests all reward you with money and experience. When you earn enough experience to level up, you’ll be able to distribute points across your stats.
Fantasy Life is cute and addictive, a worthy game for fans of action RPGs and a completionist’s dream. If you want to see everything the game has to offer, you’re looking at well above 100 hours of gameplay, although the repetitive nature may grow tiring to some. I recommend it to anyone interested in a lighthearted RPG with multiple classes and tons of side activities.
Trade in your copy of Fantasy Life.