Fantasy Life is a simulation RPG for the Nintendo 3DS that showcases what games for this system can really be. Along with Animal Crossing and Pokemon, Fantasy Life looks great, has a large world with plenty of game play options, and will keep you absorbed. The company behind this marvel of a game is none other than Level 5, probably most well known for Professor Layton, but they are also the company behind Dark Cloud (2000, PS2) which will forever be a favorite of mine.
The Fantasy Life style is bright and crisp. The illustrations for the game are so cute, I wish they would make a graphic novel series.
The game is set in the world of Reveria. You are this world's reluctant hero being strung along by a talking butterfly. The butterfly seems nice enough, but she definitely knows more than she claims to. Throughout the adventure you travel to exotic environments, exploring fun towns, cities, and wilderness. There are enemies and monsters to defeat, and treasure to find. Each major map expansion brings a completely new feel to the game.
This is an open world where you get to switch between occupations called "lives" and switching between them changes the game play. You get to pursue the master plot, upgrade your skills in the various lives, or go off and explore on your own. The game is set up in such a way that you can explore much of the world at random with certain sections needing to be unlocked, and certain locks requiring a specific level in a certain skill. Because you know, Level 5 is big on puzzles.
There are a total of twelves lives for you to master & there is an expansion pack for the world. So there is ample opportunity for you to lose a lot of hours on this game. Every player will have a different experience.
Beyond the quest, you get a home which you can decorate and new homes which you can buy. Clothing and weapon changes. Pets. All of that fun extra stuff that adds to game play experience. The game also gives you the ability to quest with a friend.
One critique would have to be that there is a lot of dialogue. And I am a person who likes game dialogue. I always play slowly, watching all the cut scenes and reading everything, but even I had to fast forward through some of the dialogue in this game. It is comical and witty, aiming to entertain as much as inform, but unless you are in the mood for a visual novel experience, you will not be prepared for it.
This is a great game for lovers of RPG, as well as, complete RPG novices. Most of the game can be played through without becoming very high level in any particular skill, but the skills level up as a result of playing the game. So whether you plan to level certain skills at certain times to prepare your character for what is to come, or just wander around fulfilling the tasks that are asked of you, you will get to the end.
When you are tired of being a miner, you can learn magic. And once you have defeated the beast, you can make furniture. Or do it in the reverse order if you like--because this is your own Fantasy Life.