Video Game Fables Review (PC)

Video Game Fables Review: A Quirky Blast From the Past

 

video game fables

Turn-based RPGs nowadays get a bad rap. They’re frequently considered dated, too old-school/retro, if not just downright boring. While I happen to be a huge fan of the genre, I get that they’re not for everyone. And it’s also hard to keep them feeling fresh and new when it feels like nearly all the mechanics have been exhausted. But every now and then, along comes a quirky game like Video Game Fables, created by just one person at Momiji Studios, and new life is breathed into an old genre.

 

What Happens When A Game Goes Unplayed? 

 

video game fables

Video Game Fables takes place within an RPG that has been abandoned by players for years. Even though nobody has been playing the game, the script has been continually running – that is, until a villainess named “The Forsaken Princess” shows up and completely changes the game’s script, throwing the world into chaos. It’s up to the princess Aru, the oh-so-earnest NPC-turned-hero Nate, and the adorable gator Tator (yes, really) to save the day. The story is extremely light-hearted and endearing, never taking itself too seriously, all while frequently breaking the fourth wall. The story and dialog are both very well-written, showing off a delightful range of wit and humor that quite literally left me laughing out loud on more than one occasion.

 

Delightfully Unserious, Seriously Addicting

 

video game fables

As delightful as the story and writing is in Video Game Fables, gameplay is what will keep you hooked and coming back for more. It’s a fun mashup of oldey-timey top-down RPG and platformer. Yes, there are even some platforming elements to be found in this game, and while it’s not always entirely successful, I appreciated the attempt nonetheless. Once you’ve assembled your team of quirky heroes, you’ll leave the safety of your home town/base and head out into the overworld. While the overworld may be just a little sparse for my tastes, it’s still quite adorable and charming. As you explore, enemies will spawn in the form of smoky purple clouds, so you can avoid them if you like. If you make contact with one of the clouds, a battle will begin. Fight enough in a row and golden-ish clouds will start to make an appearance, offering the chance for rare item drops.

While the battles are turn-based, there’s a few quirks that keep them from feeling stale and repetitive. There are essentially two types of attacks – basic attacks, and skills. In order to use a skill, you’ll need to score a CRIT hit on an enemy. Your odds of scoring such a hit are dependent on the weapon you have equipped. Once you score a CRIT, you can either use it on your next regular attack to deal extra damage, or you can utilize a skill. There’s a variety of skills – support, magical attacks, healing spells, and physical attacks, namely – and Video Game Fables gives you the option of planning out when you’d like to actually have your attack or skill activate. While it’s not the most groundbreaking, it’s certainly a welcome addition to the game. The animation for the magic and skills is definitely one of the highlights of combat – it’s silly, goofy, and absolutely endearing.

 

One For All, All For One

 

Leveling up is done in an intriguingly unique fashion in Video Game Fables. After each successful battle, you’re awarded XP, which can either be used to improve your characters through a variety of ways, or can be banked and saved for later. Leveling up is done as a team, so there’s no individual levels to worry about. However, XP is also used for skills and equipment, which is specific to each character. You can unlock and purchase skills from town, but in order to use them, you’ll need enough XP to equip them. The same goes for equipment – each individual piece of equipment has its own XP requirements to equip. If you find yourself in a pickle and in desperate need of some XP to equip a new skill or piece of equipment, you always have the option of lowering your team’s level which will give back XP that can be reallocated. While I found the idea delightful, in practice I never really ran out of XP, so it never really felt like I had to carefully shuffle my points around to maximize them.

Interestingly, any team member can equip any weapon, provided you have enough XP to do so. And as you progress through the game, the blacksmith in town will be able to upgrade your existing weapons to better versions of themselves – provided you have the right gems. Gems can be found from mining out in the overworld, though I found it more useful to purchase the seeds from the store owner in town and plant them. After a few battles, you can return to town and harvest them. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

Adorable, Charming, and Hilarious

 

video game fables

Aesthetically, there’s an awful lot of charm in Video Game Fables. Everything is composed of extra large pixels, and is sort of 2D yet 3D at the same time. Honestly, my only complaint for the way the game looks is that sometimes it feels like there’s just a bit too much empty space. The soundtrack is also fantastic – I frequently found myself humming along.

While I greatly, greatly enjoyed my time with Video Game Fables, it’s not a flawless experience. The platforming aspect of the dungeons doesn’t always work out super well. It’s not that any of them are particularly hard to complete, it’s just that with a fixed camera angle that’s not exactly conducive for platforming, you’re going to take damage when you should be able to easily avoid it. And while you will eventually be able to mine and fish out on the world map, exploration feels a little lackluster between dungeons.

 

Retro, But Updated

 

Overall, Video Game Fables is a solid RPG experience, and is even more impressive when you consider that it was made by just one person. It’s quirky, it’s cute, it’s addicting, and it never takes itself seriously. Even if you’re burnt out on turn-based RPGs, I think there’s still a lot to enjoy here. While not a perfect game, it’s an undeniably enjoyable and delightful one.


Final Verdict: 4/5

 

Available on: PC (reviewed); Publisher: Momiji Studios; Developer: Momiji Studios; Players: 1; Released: July 15th, 2022; ESRB: T for Teen; MSRP: $19.99

Editor’s note: The publisher provided a review copy to Hey Poor Player.

Daymon Trapold
Once upon a time, he wrote for oprainfall. Now, he's scraping off the rust to get back into writing about the games he loves. From his humble origins of playing the Atari and Commodore 64, he now dabbles in just about every console there is. Although he has a particular love of hardcore dungeon-crawlers, roguelikes, and niche JRPGs, some of his favorite games include Earthbound, Persona 3, Eternal Sonata, Bravely Default, Tales of the Abyss, and Fate/Extra. If his geek cred wasn't good enough, he's also a bassoonist.

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