Mirror Mirror On The Wall....
It's impossible to look at this game without comparing it to its nearest neighbor: Little Big Planet. Rest assured, the two games are without a doubt quite different, but the parallels are worth mentioning. Both reflect a trend of cutesy games geared toward a more mature audience. Cute's not just for kids (or those that wince at the sight of blood-strewn killing fields....even if it looks more like pink Play-Doh than blood) anymore! Little Big Planet, last year's killer PS3 exclusive is at its heart an old fashioned Mario-like 2D platformer. It may include state of the art physics and a huge online multiplayer mode, but it's still a platformer, no two ways about it. Fairy Tale Fights is a bit of something different. It has significant platforming elements and sections that are geared entirely toward the platforming mode, but much of the game is a brawler. Those familiar with the Wii's “Super Smash Brothers: Brawl” will be familiar with this combination of platform and brawl game.
As players progress through the levels they are confronted with small arena type sections of the 2D world. In the arenas, action and spawning doors are active, and further progress is blocked until the waves of enemies have been eliminated. Weapons are obtained either from treasure chests, things lying on the ground, dropped enemy weapons, and fluffy critters with little cotton tails hopping unsuspectingly around the game world. A simple 5-star rating system determines the effectiveness of the weapon, and they are further classed as either slicing, bashing, ranged, or potion. Where potions are single shot weapons such as an acid puddle, ranged weapons come equipped with ten shots, and bashing and slicing weapons are unlimited. While the bashing weapons are effective, especially paired with a charged attack, the thrill of the game comes from the slicing weapons.
As your character whirls and twirls wielding weapons ranging from a knife or cleaver, to saws, wooden chainsaws, broken lollipops, pitchforks, or even a violin, the main goal remains the same: bash, slice, or eviscerate anything that stands in your way through a variety of enemies including lumberjacks, warped and twisted gingerbread men, knights, and a smattering of creative boss fights. As you tear your way through, blood piles up quickly on the battlefield. The blood, rendered in real-time is more than just eye candy. If you build up some speed in a pool of blood you can actually figure-skate on it, drawing concentric shiny red circles around the battlefield. This can actually be used for quick escapes, or a short-range travel system.
The lively worlds are nothing short of ingenious. While the game begins off to a slow start in the lumberjack's woods, the high point of the game arrives in the candy castle. Following an exaggerated version of Hansel & Gretel – in this version, a two-headed ogre-like amalgamation of the two – players venture through a large candy castle-scape dodging Slappy the Cat traps, all the while trekking through the dungeons of the Candy Witch. Following the escape from the dungeons we follow the tea kettle through lush gardens of the prince's fairy tale realm to the legendary beanstalk, finally finishing up in a level equally as creative as the Candy Castle, the Giant's home. Replete with catchy graphical gimmicks that make the background activity part of the platforming mayhem, the level design here deserves nothing but praise.
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