I love RPGs. I love games with a real heart at their centre. I love games with hundreds of side-quests to do. I love life sims. With all of that in mind, it’s no wonder that I love Fantasy Life, because it mixes all of these things together perfectly.
In this game, you play as a person in the world of Reveria. You make your character from scratch, with a character-creation tool which is essentially a highly advanced version of the Mii Maker. Once your character has been created, you then choose a ‘Life’ which is essentially a career path. There are twelve different options (including things like fishing, wood cutting, hunting, tailoring and more) and each one provides your character with different skills and abilities, while also opening up different side-quests.
So, for example, I chose to be a wood cutter. At first, you’re just simply cutting down generic trees, but then later you’re cutting down frozen trees on the peak of a mountain, then creepy, mythic trees in a spooky forest. Each ‘Life’ provides a very unique experience and it’s very fun to rise up through the ranks.
This feature alone would be enough to build a whole game around, in my opinion. You have the whole of Reveria (consisting of mountains, open fields, towns, beaches, forests, volcanoes, deserts and more) to explore, so expanding your abilities in a single Life while visiting new areas to gain more experience and to complete more side quests, is already a large number of hours’ worth of fun. You are also able to change Life at any time, so it doesn’t have the same risk as real life, where if you choose the wrong career path, you’ll have a hard time changing path. Working and selling resources earns you money, which you can then also use to buy houses and fill them with furniture that you’ve bought, adding a nice element of customisation.
But, on top of this really strong base, there’s a pretty fantastic storyline to follow as well. The story introduces you to loads of loveable characters with their own backstories and interests and there’s just enough intrigue to keep you wanting to move forward. I certainly didn’t feel that it was a generic fantasy RPG storyline.
Paradoxically, while I did want to progress in the story, I also wanted to take my time and explore everything (I had to find the right balance) because the game has such a nice setting that even doing nothing is quite an experience. There’s a beautiful and calming soundtrack which makes everything feeling like a nostalgic trip in your childhood and the bright and vibrant colours make everything nice to look at – like pictures in a fairy tale picture book. Something as simple as heading out to the woods and chopping down a few trees feels so therapeutic. There’s also the fact that it’s filled with lots of characters and creatures, which helps it all to feel very real.
I honestly think it’s one of the best games on the 3DS. If forced to criticise it, I suppose there were two small ways it could be improved; 1) Instead of using save points, it would have been nice to save anywhere. 2) As there is no voice acting, all dialogue is done in text boxes and this means that the longer cutscenes do start to feel every so slightly taxing. But that’s it. There’s very little wrong with it. It’s a masterpiece.
So, if you want to expand your 3DS library, I recommend Fantasy Life. It’s one of those games you’re sure to get very deeply immersed in. And on the off-chance that this huge game isn’t enough, there’s also a paid DLC called ‘Origin Island’ which expands on the story a little more and gives you a new area to explore.
I really loved it and I hope that a future game will return us to Reveria in some form, one day.