If you’re not familiar with the Fairune franchise, but you’re a fan of games like Kid Icarus or The Legend of Zelda, you may want to give it a shot. This series debuted on mobile devices and the 3DS and has now been ported to Switch in a single, convenient package at a reasonable cost. Is this bundle worth investing in or is it a sad bargain?
Find the Three Great Fairies
Fairune as a series is inexplicably simple. You take control of a princess who is tasked with saving the world, and that involves saving the three fairies and using their power to combat the darkness that threatens the world. If it sounds extremely similar to The Legend of Zelda, that’s because it is. You make your way through a top-down world full of items to find, monsters to battle, and puzzles to solve.
However, that’s where the similarities end. Fairune has crafted its own identity. Think of each game in the series as one massive side quest, where you must find relevant items in a certain order to get to newer places until you reach the end. I appreciate this change in design, as it makes each game (for the most part) easy to complete in a lazy afternoon. There’s something beautifully convenient about that.
Where I have a complaint with the series is with its combat. Monsters inhabit the world of Fairune, and it’s up to you to destroy them. However, it’s not skill-based at all. You just run into monsters. If they’re a lower level than you, they instantly die and you gain no experience. If they’re a higher level, then you take some damage, they die, and you gain experience. With no proper skill level or any real payoff to gaining experience, the combat only seems to halt your progress through each adventure. You might know exactly where the next Red Orb is, but you’ll quickly realize that you have to grind a few levels in order to survive the enemies that hide around it.
That’s about all I’ll say about the Fairune series as a whole. If you’re interested in what I thought of each game, I’ll break each of them down briefly.
The first Fairune game is a nice introduction to a franchise. It does a good job of setting up the mechanics and teaching how the series works. It does have some fundamental flaws (like the cluttered display, inventory, and map all up at the same time), but it is a cute, short adventure.
My only problem with it is that the final act of the game is almost in stark disagreement with the rest of the gameplay. It seems out of nowhere and is surprisingly hard where the rest of the game wasn’t too difficult. All in all, Fairune is decent for what it is. Being the first entry of the franchise, it’s clear that Flyhigh was still working out the kinks and finding out the identity of it.
I have a lot of thoughts about Fairune 2, but I’ll try to keep them brief. It does what you would expect from a sequel- it keeps the familiar elements in place while expanding them. The game is much longer this time around with more worlds to travel in and more items to gather. However, this bigger premise presents a serious problem with the game.
The Fairune franchise doesn’t tell you in what order to obtain items nor which ones you need to obtain. Fairune 2 takes this same approach, but because the game has significantly more surface area, it’s much easier to get lost (don’t get me started on returning to the game after more than 24 hours). What makes this pill harder to swallow is that you can progress through the game without collecting certain items. Because it doesn’t guide players well enough, you could get near to the end and discover that you have around 30 more items to collect with no way to discover where they are.
While Fairune 2 does improve on the original in a lot of ways (the display is much cleaner this time around as well), the length of the game and size of the world hurts rather than hinders it in my opinion.
There have only been two Fairune games released thus far. This made me wonder why we needed a Fairune Collection. However, Flyhigh added in two brand new games on top of the previous two entries in the series. The first is Fairune Origin. This game is, in essence, a prototype of the Fairune franchise. The game takes about 10 minutes to complete and flows very quickly.
Strangely enough, I found my time with Fairune Origin to be enjoyable. Due to it being much smaller, the game flows really well. However, its short length doesn’t make it quite worth calling a full “game.”
Fairune Blast is the other newcomer in Fairune Collection. I won’t spoil too much about the game considering that it’s only unlocked when you beat the previous three games. However, it’s vastly different from the rest of the franchise. The style itself is a reference to the end of the first Fairune. While only the biggest of Fairune fans will unlock it, the different style is a refreshing reward from all of the nearly endless puzzle-solving of the rest of the series.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review copy of Fairune Collection was provided by Circle-Entertainment.