I’ve spent the last week becoming familiar with the land of Reveria , a fantastical world from Level-5 (the same minds behind the Professor Layton series), and I’ve come to understand it as a wonderfully quirky offering. There are obvious shades of some of my very favorite titles therein — from the job-switching of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance to the vast clan- and quest-heavy world-building of Skyrim to the simple homemaking of the aforementioned Animal Crossing — and yet Fantasy Life is still somehow its own unique experience.
It’s a multifaceted game about action and adventure, about cultivating bonds and proving oneself worthy of the kind of accolades a hero always receives when at the heart of a larger-than-life fantasy story. Moreover, Fantasy Life, both as a work of interactive fiction and within this delightful game world itself, is all about fulfillment. Yes, above all else Fantasy Life is game about… well, discovering a satisfying occupation.
You’re confused, and that’s understandable — so allow me to elucidate.
Reveria is a place where the idea of finding your true calling in life is so important as to be at the very heart of its mythology. Each person has a Wish, a driving principle at their very core that, once realized by choosing an appropriate path, a Life, makes their world and the worlds of all around them even better. Perhaps a person wants to be the fiercest Mercenary, the most adept Hunter, the wisest Alchemist or maybe just the best Angler.
Or perhaps — like your player character who is accompanied by a mysterious talking butterfly called… Butterfly — the perfect path to that Wish involves more than just a single Life. Characters are free to change their Life at any time at the Guild offices in any of Reveria towns, and the Skills mastered as your train in one Life are still available when you move on to another, making you a more flexible and well-rounded adventurer.
But don’t think it’s all about slinging spells or clashing swords. No, in Fantasy Life the warrior is no more important than the cook, the archer no more valued than the smith. The dozen available Life paths encompass not only combat, but also gathering and crafting, which serves to make the game stand out even more from its simpler hack-n-slash brethren.
Its experience system too takes three unique forms, all expressed as Quests. Challenges are Life-specific tasks that net you Stars, points required for moving from the initial Apprentice level of a Life on up through Fledgling, Novice, Adept, Expert and eventually Master. Butterfly’s Requests are story-centered missions that reveal more about the history of Reveria and uncover more about the central narrative behind your mysterious flying friend; successful completion of these reward you with Bliss, which is used to unlock bonuses like increasing item storage capacity, adopting pets or even broadening the number and types of goods available at shops. There are also the self-explanatory Other Requests, tasks for other villagers that earn both items and in-game currency, Dosh.
I began my Fantasy Life as a Paladin, a member of the King of Castele’s own special guard. Take a look at the pictures below to get a feel for both the game’s visuals and its wonderfully inspired narrative tone. While Nintendo specifically requested that participants limit early coverage to the game’s first three chapters, I’ve also made an effort to make things as spoiler-free as possible. Fantasy Life truly excels at storytelling, as I’m sure you’ll discover when the game hits shelves this Friday.
In the meantime, if you’d be so kind as to excuse me, I’m off to change my Life. I reckon I’d make a solid Wizard or Carpenter, but currently I’m feeling lead to the Life of the noble Miner.
Review and promotional materials provided by: Nintendo of America