Developer: TeamLava
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

When I was young and spry, one of my favorite shows was Disney’s “The Wuzzles.” First aired in 1985, “The Wuzzles” tagged along with a gang of fantastical animal hybrids including a bumblebee/lion mix named Bumblelion, an elephant/kangaroo mix named Eleroo, and a moose/seal named Moosel (voiced by the late great Bill Scott).

fantasy_forest_story_02Fantasy Forest Story, an animal breeding/park building game from TeamLava, features a similar charming assortment of mixed-up animals. It’s clearly supposed to be DragonVale with more than reptiles, which isn’t a bad idea – except that the waiting times for breeding and hatching the menagerie are borderline insane. And, unfortunately, players need to hatch and raise animals – lots of them – to garner the money necessary to experience what Fantasy Forest Story has to offer.

Fantasy Forest Story starts off by directing players on how to set up a basic habitat and a few hybrid animals. These hybrids are wonderfully imaginative, look lovely, and are graced with names that are tons of fun to read and say (Pandaffodil! Bamboon! Plantlers!). From the minute players meet their first Pyro Pony, they’ll be sucked into Fantasy Forest Story‘s bright, beautiful world.

Sadly, it’s not long before the game hits the brakes and slams players against a paywall. Breeding, hatching, and evolving animals can take up to five hours, eight hours, twelve hours. In most monster-breeding games, lower-end monsters take half an hour to three hours to breed and hatch, and 12-hour incubations are reserved for very rare creatures.

fantasy_forest_story_04The long, long waits in Fantasy Forest Story kill the game’s momentum, and make it very hard to earn the high amounts of cash necessary for new habitats and park expansions. Animals that are breeding can’t earn money, so that means waiting for hours for big earners to stop macking on each other.

Fantasy Forest Story does feature an arena that monsters can battle in, but it’s a primitive operation. The animals have a single attack (though there is an option for a super-move that costs a lot of hard currency to use), and they simply take turns wailing on each other. A Pokemon-style elemental weakness system seems to be in effect, but it’s spotty at best. “Strong” attacks actually seem to vary in strength.

Fantasy Forest Story has a wide, vivid imagination, but the push for players to spend purchasable hard currency is as subtle as a Rock Rhino’s horn up the backside. It’s really a shame.

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