Sam Marchello: Last Tuesday, Becky Cunningham and I had the opportunity to go to a Nintendo Press Event here in Toronto to check out its Fall and Winter titles. While Nintendo has a fantastic first-party line-up in store for gamers, the only game of interest to RPGamers is Level-5 and Brownie Brown's Fantasy Life.
The first thing I noticed when I booted up the Fantasy Life demo was the amount of detail within the character creator. There's a plethora of options to ensure that every player can create a unique avatar to take into a new life.
Outside of the character customization, players must pick a profession for their avatar, with these jobs including, and these jobs include treasure hunter, shop owner, student, cook, beast user, carpenter, pilot, angler, tailor, alchemist, and a ton more. My character had a pink beehive, was short and stout, and her profession was a cook.
Once the actual game began I was told by my mother to begin my new life and to obtain a cooking licence. The game presented me with a few tutorials for movement, career "training," and some of the other various activities that can be performed. After obtaining my novice licence, I also encountered a poor butterfly in need of assistance. After helping the butterfly, the debt was repaid when he helped me getting into a meeting with the king. Every new licence granted must first be acknowledged by the king, who as it turns out, looks to only be about seven years old and bratty.
After that 'wonderful' meeting with the king I was on my way to becoming a novice chef, but in order to do that, my character sought the training and guidance from Chef Alfredo, who also taught me my first recipe, carrot soup! The only problem? Well, I didn't have the ingredients. My first quest in the game was to obtain all the necessary items to make my soup, which wasn't too difficult to obtain, though I had to run around the entire village to find all the necessary items. Once that was complete, carrot soup was enjoyed by all.
Unfortunately, that's where the demo ended for me. Fantasy Life is a game that feels like it will have a lot to offer for those who love RPGs, as well as for those who love simulation games. You're not entirely restricted to a single role, so players can enjoy all the various professions without too much trouble. There's a huge open world to be explored, and each new life your character leads will offer new items and skills. There's also no set way to play the game, so players definitely can explore and customize any way they choose.
I am beyond excited now for Fantasy Life, but I adore the style of game it presents itself to be. It's easily a game I can see myself sinking hours into simply because there's tons to do and explore. If you are a fan of Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing, then you may want to put Fantasy Life on your radar when it releases in October.
Becky Cunningham: I had a great time at this Nintendo preview event. There are a bunch of exciting titles coming out for the Wii U in the near future, and we got to try out most of them.
Of course Super Smash Bros. was the central feature of the event, so I made sure to spend some time with the game on 3DS and Wii U. I thought the portable version of the game was a bit too cramped even on the 3DS XL screen, but the Wii U version looked gorgeous. I tried out a couple rounds playing RPG representatives Greninja and Marth (Lucina and Robin were not available in the demo), and although technical difficulties prevented me from fully experiencing the action, it was obviously the crazy, chaotic fun that we know and love.
Sam and I are suckers for Nintendo's cutest mascots, so we made sure to play a round of Yoshi's Woolly World, the yarn-themed title in which we were able to control Yoshis who were unburdened by that bawling brat Baby Mario. The game looks absolutely stunning, from its lush yarn textures to the animations that reinforce the fact that everything in the game has been woven and crocheted. We played a fun level in which the Yoshi's had to toss fluffy baby birds, which created plush cloud bridges to run across. The co-op works excellently, though you have to be careful not to swallow each other when you don't want to!
I also played a quick level of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, the Wii U follow-up to my favourite Kirby game, Kirby and the Canvas Curse. I used my stylus and the Wii U's GamePad to tap Kirby and draw rainbow bridges for him to roll across. It controlled just like I remembered from the DS game, except the larger touchscreen made it easier for me to make precision moves. I loved it. The clay world in which the game takes place also looks great, though it seems less fully-integrated into the gameplay than Yoshi's yarn world.
We watched other people play a couple other games of interest on the Wii U, including Hyrule Warriors and Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker. Hyrule Warriors looks exactly as advertised: a Dynasty Warriors clone done up with Legend of Zelda trappings. It should be great fun with local co-op. Captain Toad is a simply charming puzzle game that expands on the levels from Super Mario 3D World. I thought those levels deserved a full game when I played them, so I'm quite jazzed that Nintendo thought so, too!
Finally, I spend a bit of time with some upcoming games on the 3DS. Sam spent more time with Fantasy Life than I did, but I took a few minutes to start up as an angler, earn my job outfit complete with an oversized fish hat, and catch a few carp. The game is cute and charming, an RPG for the Animal Crossing crowd. I think I'm going to enjoy playing it when it comes out.
Although Fantasy Life was the only RPG on display at the event, a lot of these games should be of interest to RPGamers. Nintendo's platformers have near-universal appeal, and we get to control some of our favourite RPG heroes in Super Smash Bros. and Hyrule Warriors. Hopefully next time around we'll be able to spend some time with the Wii U's main RPG event: Xenoblade Chronicles X.