Fairune review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: QubicGames
Developer: QubicGames
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

As someone who prefers when games are simple and straightforward, I have to say: Fairune makes me question that preference.

In pretty much every respect, the game feels like a NES or SNES RPG stripped down to its most basic elements and set loose upon the world. The story is as generic as it gets: a girl has to find gems to stop evil. The graphics, the characters, the music: all of these things feel like they could’ve come from any RPG of a few decades ago.

This feeling carries over into the gameplay. Combat is barely even present: it consists entirely of you walking into enemies. If you’re strong enough to kill them they die, and if you’re not, you bounce off them. If you take on an enemy slightly above your abilities, then you also lose a point or two off your life bar. The puzzles are equally walking-into-things-based: you wander around the map looking to uncover secrets, and when you bounce into the right place, it solves the puzzle. The whole thing can be finished in about two hours.

Or so I’m told: if I’m being honest, I gave up on this game about halfway through, because even with its streamlined mechanics, Fairune still feels like a huge grind. Leveling up is based entirely on how many times you can go back and forth across the map, bumping into enemies; likewise, as I said, solving puzzles requires no greater ability than being able to move your character around with the d-pad or thumbstick. I like it when games simplify things for me, but this takes the idea of “simplified” to an extreme.

It shouldn’t be too surprising, I suppose, that Fairune got its start as a mobile title — with its basic mechanics and relative lack of plot, it feels like the sort of game you can hop into and out of with minimal difficulty. And, let’s be honest, there’s certainly a place for pick-up-and-play games on the Vita and the 3DS. But there’s a difference between being able to pick up a game and immediately start playing it, and a game being so undemanding it barely feels worth it. Fairune falls into the latter category.

Grade: D+