Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
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Game Controls Rating:
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With games like Zelda (in all its many iterations) and Fable, the action RPG genre is a well established and dense corner of the gaming globe. That said, because these type of games require a certain amount of depth in order to become truly successful, there are few full sized development teams that are able to take on such a daunting genre. Fara is an action RPG from a team of two experienced developers. Being from such a small team, one would expect Fara to be more action and less RPG, but after a few minutes with the game players will be pleasantly surprised by rich RPG experience.
Fara tells the story of a archeologist that finds himself mysteriously transported to a strange island with a strange squid-like creature stuck to his hand. This creature actually acts like a weapon for the game's unwilling hero, and as players progress through the game, more of these creatures attach themselves to him and give him new abilities that will help him progress in his quest to find a way home.
There are plenty of side quests and main quests to keep players busy, but most of the quests seem to devolve into simple fetch type quests. There are some puzzle elements to some of the quests which fans of the genre should enjoy, though. The dialogue has it's moments of wit and the game is very self aware, having the hero character often confused by the townspeople's reference to buttons as they tell the player how to control the game. There game is ripe with tongue in cheek video game humor and references that gamers will love.
Unfortunately, where Fara really suffers as a game is its controls, more specifically the touch controls. By default, players use the touch controls which require them to point to a spot of the screen to have the hero walk there. Swiping, tapping, and double tapping is used for dashing, attacking, and interacting with objects. These touch controls work reasonably well until the player needs to get around objects in the environment. The hero character is constantly getting stuck behind rocks or trees and can't seem to find his way around. This can become aggravating. Enabling the virtual controls, however, fixes this problem. The game plays much more smoothly and naturally with the virtual controls enabled.
Fara is a well polished action RPG from a small team. The game may not be epic in scale, but it seems about the right size for a small device and it is compelling enough to merit a look. The hand-painted environments are beautifully crafted, and the dialogue is funny even if a bit over the top at times.