Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Mar 262021

After seeing the recent launch trailer for Light Fairytale Episode 2, I remembered that I had Episode 1 and decided to give it a try.

Light Fairytale is an indie turn-based RPG inspired by classic JRPGs, and the developer opted to split it into multiple episodes and release them separately.

Episode 1 is set in an underground city, where a boy named Haru has dreamed of the sky despite not knowing what it is. After spending some time in the city, he and his friend Kuroko end up running into trouble with the empire that rules over them.

I was impressed by the number of secret conversations you can get by exploring and checking various things. They might be there for achievement hunters, but those sorts of missable secret scenes make a game feel more alive and detailed in a way I find hard to explain. It made me want to check everywhere and try everything, just in case I’d get a few lines of funny dialogue or an item.

The turn-based combat system is fairly straightforward, although it has some oddities. For example, Haru’s weapon includes an elemental attack that uses MP on each turn, after which it becomes much weaker. There’s no way to choose whether or not to use the elemental part, though, which means you’ll simply deplete all of his MP and then be stuck with his weaker attack for every fight after that until you rest again.

It features random encounters, but only in certain areas that you can see by using Haru’s special AR goggles, with a set number of possible battles in each location.

That’s fine… except some are also locked by story progression, so you might only be able to fight half of an area’s battles on your first trip through and need to backtrack later to fight more. I still wouldn’t mind that system, except that when I got stuck on the final boss and looked it up to see if there were any tricks, the official recommendation was to fight all battles in the game.

Necessary grinding + set number of encounters in each location + backtracking required to fight them all makes for a tedious combination.

Anyway, you’ll notice I didn’t say much about the story. That’s because there isn’t much to say. Haru and Kuroko seem like enjoyable enough characters, and they have a good dynamic with each other, but not a lot happens. It takes about five hours to complete, and that includes playing through a second time as Kuroko for a couple of altered sections.

When the first episode feels more like a prologue than anything else, releasing each part of Light Fairytale as a separate game might not have been the best choice. Maybe Light Fairytale will have a deep, compelling story by the time it’s finished, but Episode 1 didn’t show me enough to sell me on Episode 2 just yet.

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