Thursday, May 17

Review: Fairune Collection [Nintendo Switch eShop]

There’s no question that the Legend of Zelda titles from the NES/SNES era are among my favorites from that time so I’m always a bit excited to see titles that have a similar visual style. What ended up being a bit of a surprise in the case of Fairune collection is that while it includes titles that are visually similar their style of play is, in fact, quite different. Including two titles originally released on portable systems, as well as two original (though somewhat slight) offerings, this collection plays out more like an action puzzle game than RPG but has a satisfying quality nonetheless.

Both the original Fairune and Fairune 2 are the meatiest parts of the collection, though both are quite similar in their style. Your heroine will need to carefully navigate through areas that can at times be maze-like, solve environmental puzzles, collect items, and be careful in choosing what to fight and when to be successful. The combat isn’t skill-based and really acts as more of a barrier to you getting ahead of yourself than anything. If you attack enemies that are equal to your level you’ll simply walk through them, killing them without incident or reward. Enemies that are in the sweet spot you’ll be able to defeat while only taking minor damage, also receiving experience that will help you level up. Anything out of your league you’ll quickly take pretty hefty damage from and will essentially knock you back, working as gatekeepers to basically tell you that you’re in the wrong area. Both are reasonably pleasant, moderately challenging, and require some careful exploration, some trial and error, and sometimes a little grinding to be sure you’ve leveled up to the point you can move on.

The two games that haven’t been released before, Fairune Origin and Fairune Blast, are more of icing on the cake and bite-sized, but are at least interesting. Fairune Origin has a more modern look while still retaining some of its retro sensibilities and plays out somewhat similarly to 1 and 2, though it’s more strictly puzzle-oriented over its much more humble length. For something completely different once you’ve completed the other 3 games Fairune Blast becomes playable and it’s a relatively simple, but fun, shoot-em-up. Both are definitely only value adds to the package, the bulk of content sits with the original 2 games, but as a fan service to extend the value of the collection they’re appreciated.

Not having played any of the Fairune games before this collection was a pleasant surprise. The look and feel are wonderfully classic, the pacing is pretty mellow and allows you to simply enjoy the experience, and the puzzles can be quite clever. The lack of real combat can be taken as a plus or a minus, depending on what kind of experience you’re looking for, but as a variation on the norm I didn’t mind it at all. Through the lens of more of a puzzle game it all plays out nicely and will give you a handful of hours of enjoyment for a budget-friendly price.

Score: 7.5

  • Some clever puzzles to be solved
  • A style of play that’s a bit different from what’s already on the Switch
  • The 2 original games are satisfying and the 2 add-ons are a nice value add, even if slight

  • The lack of more active combat may turn some people away
  • There really isn’t much story to latch onto