Developer: URARA-WORKS Co., Ltd.
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

fairune01Fairune is an interesting change of pace for an adventure game. It’s still reminiscent of plenty of classics, but things are simplified and streamlined in a manner that’s admittedly a bit strange at first. Once it starts to “click,” however, it becomes a surprisingly clever way to cater to fans of speed runs.

A young girl sets out on her own to seal up an ancient evil. Hopefully for good this time. Players guide her around with a single virtual control pad while occasionally calling up an inventory screen to make use of special items. Combat is a simple matter of walking into an enemy. If they aren’t too terribly strong she’ll instantly slay them, acquire experience, and take a bit of damage. The trick is to dispatch enough baddies to level up and be able to take on the next tier. She gains strength little by little which allows her to reach new areas, gather more equipment, and eventually save the world.

fairune07I was a little put off by the whole non-combat thing but it’s actually grown on me. It’s a nice, simple solution that makes Fairune feel almost like a strange sort of puzzle game rather than a true action-adventure. Being able to unlock shortcuts is also a boon since death will come quite often. The main character stops taking damage from enemies that are too weak, but anything close to her level or above still hurts whether she dispatches it or not. Some monsters as so tough they can even take her out in one shot. Thankfully death is only a minor setback that forces players to wander through a quick little Purgatory-style area before respawning. The whole reason for this is the leaderboards that track players’ play time in a sort of worldwide competition to see who can reach the end the fastest.

Despite the simplistic combat I’ve been having lots of fun with Fairune, and I can easily look past the somewhat directionless goals. However the movement controls are obnoxious to the point of affecting my enjoyment. They haven’t ruined it for me, but getting around can be quite a chore when the hit detection on the virtual pad is so stringent. It’s incredibly easy to tap the wrong area and not move at all, or to slide a thumb to just the wrong spot and move in the wrong direction. It’s never a huge setback, even when it leads to an untimely demise, but it’s still irritating.

I wouldn’t have expected Fairune’s odd combination of speed run and adventure game to work so well but it totally does. So long as one can get past the obnoxious movement controls it can be a rather addicting bit of fun.


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