I was intrigued when someone first described Fairy Tale: Three Heroes to me and I’m going to give you the same description that I was given. Its an RPG/Puzzle game that takes place in a world of Russian fairy tales, it is a game made by a small team of developers called “Cats Who Play” that are located in Moscow. This game is Russian, very very Russian. Its also an absolute blast and one of the most frustrating games I’ve played in recent memory. The biggest issue being localization at times. Also it doesn’t save after completing every main and side quest. I ended up playing the first four quests about three times over and almost gave up right there, remember to save manually after everything.
Speaking of localization, not only can the English be just a hair off at times but so is the voice acting. When it comes to indie games I try not to bag too much on the voice acting, people do the best they can with what they have and I understand that. In this case though, something has to be said. Its almost in so bad its good territory. Alisha (The archer hero) is voice acted by someone who sounds like Jean Claude Van Dam trying to do a ye’ old English accent and giving up halfway through. Dobrynya (Our tall athletic staff using hero) sounds almost mentally handicapped, and Ilya (The Dwarf Tank hero) sounds like a twelve year old doing his best “angry old man gruff voice”. Luckily there is an option to turn down just the voices but that leads to another issue: Exposition Dump Speech.
While most of the lore and story is drip fed nicely to you, there are a lot of times that characters just randomly dump all kinds of unnecessary exposition on you which forces you to kind of tune out. You get used to ignoring it only to realize that what you’re supposed to be doing in the next level was explained as well and you missed it. Then there are the times where you do pay attention but because the localization is the way it is, you still aren’t quite sure whats expected of you. I spent a lot of the game stumbling blind and doing my best trying to go by the brief descriptions of quests on the map.
Speaking of quests and the map, boy could this game do with a proper quest User Interface. A tool of some kind that lines up the quests and orders them from main quest to side quest or something of that nature. I do like when I pull up the map and select the quest, a little arrow points you in the proper direction. It works for what its supposed to do and I’ve never had an issue with it glitching out or anything. My only problem with it is every time I finish one simple task within a quest I have to pull the map back up and select the location but sometimes the button that brings up the map just doesn’t work. I don’t know why or what causes this but my god is it annoying. It also seems to happen in quests when time is of the essence.
Now that I’ve gotten my complaints out of the way, let me just say: I love this game. I’ve had a blast with it so far. In the 9 hours I’ve played it, I’ve already beat it and really enjoyed my time with it for the most part. The graphics pop off the screen with their colorful and bright cell shaded style. At times I was really surprised how good it looked.
The music is bombastic and great, it heightens the fun of every fight and makes the most of the calm moments while wandering around the world and speaking to NPC’s or solving puzzles. The physics are by far my favorite thing about the game. I’m not sure if they are supposed to be crazy but they really add to the game’s charm. Flinging a wolf or a wild boar into a gate just to watch everything smash into a million pieces and fly all over the screen is so much fun. As well as using Dobrynya staff to pole vault him into the air (Which is ridiculously far when its leveled up all the way) only to have him rag-doll and smash his face into everything is hysterical and never got old. I flung him into absolutely everything: Enemies, rocks, fences, NPCS, trees, animals, etc.
The puzzle elements to the game are a lot of fun as well. Often bringing back memories of a Super Nintendo game called The Lost Vikings that used the same idea, use all three heroes specific abilities to solve puzzles. My favorite level in the game (Which also happens to be the most linear) is a large square map with a road curving its way through the middle. Behind your heroes are the towns people who have had enough of these bandits and have taken up arms to fight them, unfortunately they are nothing but a liability and if they get into a fight, they will lose. So its up to the three heroes to quickly dispatch enemies and take out the traps before the villagers get to it.
Each section of the map that your heroes complete the villagers get more rabid and faster because they want to take out bandits as well and your heroes are doing all the work. It adds a new level of pressure that hasn’t been there at all in the game until this point and is very well done. The level after that had me damn near breaking my keyboard. It involves getting to the bandits who have made it out with the villagers belongings and money before they get to boats. The extremely short “timer” for this level mixed with how badly the directions for what you’re supposed to be doing are rage inducing.
For the most part I love how the world is broken up. Its essentially a bunch of small open world areas filled with quests, NPC’s, and enemies that all connect to make one larger overarching world. It works extremely well in Three Heroes favour. With a name like Fairy Tale: Three Heroes it makes me hopeful that this may be a series. I really enjoyed the set piece that all these Russian fairy tales allowed me to run around in. There is definitely more they could do with this world and I would be absolutely excited to revisit this world once again.