I have a long and storied history with Tactics type games, going all the way back to Fire Emblem and Advance Wars back on the old GameBoy Advance, through many more titles until we reach the modern day with the various Warhammer titles. Well, there’s another to add to the list of the titles in this genre, and that is the new game from EndlessFluff Games – Fae Tactics. Can it hold a candle to those of my memories, or should we be breaking out the classics?
Story is a big part of these games, and luckily Fae Tactics has you covered. We play the part of Peony, a young magic user, who is on a mission to do something. The world that she is travelling across is broken, as there has been a collision of two worlds. In the past, the world of the Fae and the world of the humans were separated by Elemental Gates. In this way, the natural world and that of the magic one were kept apart, but as always happens, somebody had to fiddle with the seals on the Gates, and thus the two worlds collided. It wasn’t a pretty sight either; a load of the Fae and humans died in the collision, with a lot of the land being torn apart. Since then, the humans and the Fae have had to learn how to get along, all as more and more humans have been able to use magic. This is where we come in.
Now, the way Fae Tactics looks is one of the big draws, with an appealing pixelated, almost 16-bit look to the graphics. The way the characters and enemies are drawn has a very nice style to them, and they move around well too. The landscapes are also well drawn, with multiple levels and routes available to take advantage of, with the ability to flank enemies making up a strong part of the way the game plays out; something that is implied by the name of the game, some might say. The sound is also very pleasant, with jolly music and combat audio helping to draw you into the action.
How Fae Tactics plays out needs to be discussed too. If you have played a Tactics type game before, you will be right at home here.
The landscape is divided up into squares, and the characters you control have a certain amount of squares they can move. If an enemy is within range, you can also attack, but you need to perform the actions in the correct order. You have to move then attack, as attacking ends your turn, so bear that in mind. You have characters that can attack from range, like Pio, a kind of water bird type creature, and others that attack with melee, like Peony’s dog. Interestingly, the dog and other melee characters get to attack more than once in a turn; if they are adjacent to an enemy that is attacked by a ranged character they get to have a second bite at the cherry. Of course, leaving them next to a foe is inviting an attack on the next turn of the enemy, so swings and roundabouts and all that…
So, that’s the basics of the gameplay covered but another big focus with these types of games is the recruiting of other people to your cause, and luckily, Fae Tactics has you covered here. In fact, there is a whiff of Pokemon about some of the game’s mechanics, with defeated enemies being able to be recruited to your side to fight for you. Yes, it appears that Peony is not only a magic user, but she can also summon Fae to fight on her side.
As you go through the story, you recruit stronger and stronger creatures and thus are able to do more damage. Also, you get to level up the characters on your team, enabling you to increase their damage output, or raise their defence, for instance. In this way, through careful management of the team, you can keep them competitive. Of course, the creatures you summon and the characters you control also have elemental alignments, which can either help or hinder you, depending on those that you face.
It all sounds a bit good and should appeal to any fan of the Tactics genre, but are there any downsides to Fae Tactics? Well, there are a couple, sadly, and the first is pacing.
The game seems to move at a snail’s pace, and also seems overly long. It’s an odd complaint, to be honest, as normally more content is a good thing, but this time around it just seems that the pacing and the progression toward the end of the story is too slow. The other thing that I miss is a real sense of character growth, as while they do level up, there’s not really a way of equipping your characters with powerful gear to help them out; something which is present in other games. This complaint is more of a personal gripe as it doesn’t affect the game overly, but as a review is of personal opinion, I will include it.
All in all, Fae Tactics is worth playing. It looks great and plays well, but just seems to be too elongated in length. If you like Tactics type experiences, Fae Tactics is an easy sell. And if you don’t, with the way this is able to ease you into the required mechanics, it’s a fairly decent place to start.
You’ll find Fae Tactics on the Xbox Store