Title: Fae Tactics
Developer: Endlessfluff Games
Release Date: July 31, 2020
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Humble Games
I’m no stranger to the strategy RPG genre as I tout its greatness regularly. Still, I’m willing to admit that many games repackage something we’ve already seen without offering anything unique. One look at the Endlessfluff-developed Fae Tactics, and it’s easy to say where they took inspiration. However, I wasn’t prepared for the intuitive and creative systems this adventure offered.
Fae Tactics introduces us to Peony and her two companions. At first, it’s not explained what their mission is, but after a few battles, more about this trio is revealed. Peony is in a complicated place as she struggles with understanding her place in the world. Given that she can use magic, she is considered to be a witch, which she denies being. Her quest for answers about her mom, who is also a witch, is delivered during intermissions until you piece together what exactly is going on.
Peony is an exceptionally optimistic protagonist who goes out of her continuously to help people. She has a goal, but she doesn’t mind taking a detour to help someone in need. Her adventures lead her to meet and help several different allies who fill her in on the state of the world and eventually her fate.
I loved Peony’s impatient attitude and impulsive actions that would catch people off guard. She is blunt and assertive and just a great protagonist for this adventure. Her companions are also pretty special, but that is something that you’ll need to figure out on your own.
The story takes its time in the beginning, with most of the first missions revolving around mastering the game’s systems. You won’t really know Peony’s goals until a few hours in, but by then, you feel like you are a member of the group. The story delivery comes off extremely traditional when compared to other entries in the genre where a small quest turns into a larger one over time.
Aside from the story, much of your time playing Fae Tactics will be in battle. Encounters can be chosen from a menu, which displays how many rounds the fight will be and whether or not a boss will be encountered. These fights can be taken on in any order and range in difficulty. Surprisingly, each battle has a unique map full of gimmicks and elements to take into consideration when planning your attack.
There’s so much to take into consideration during a difficult battle. First off, understanding your passive abilities and how they affect the character and their teammates. Then you need to know which kind of summons you have access to and what they do, such as whether they can fly or what’s their defense.
You can then get into the nitty-gritty and distribute your skill points accordingly to be able to survive the encounter because I learned that putting all your points into attack doesn’t help when a boss can one-shot you.
So all that, plus choosing the right spells, taking a look at the map to see if there are any cannons or explosive barrels, check what spells the boss uses, and so on. It sounds like something you’d be lost in menus fine-tuning for hours, but actually, the team organized it all beautifully with subtle notifications that remind you to check things.
Battles are good for more than simply leveling up and becoming stronger. During fights, you collect materials, spell cards, and capture monsters to summon. There’s also equipment hidden in chests that unlock even more passive abilities for your main party members.
Summoned monsters, known as Fae, have their own experience bar and stats, but they can’t gain skill points. Furthermore, only three summons and three spells can be equipped. Spells take several turns to charge, but can definitely help you out in a fight as they act as a free action for Peony. The materials found on maps can be used to create helpful gadgets that add some impressive passive boosts.
One of the more exciting aspects of the battle system is that it is entirely menu-less. Click on a space, enemy, ally, whatever, and the action is the same. The main characters have some control over this, but the feature makes for a quicker experience rather than trying to decide how much MP to use or which attack I should use. Sure, that stuff is still on your mind with elements and position cause more or less damage, but you’re able to focus on managing that than navigating a menu. In case you wanted more, the developer also added a cooking mini-game which benefits stats in battles.
Fae Tactics is absolutely beautiful and has some unique character and enemy designs that are only complimented by the environments. The animations are charming as well, especially when characters gain access to their ultra attack. Add in the excellent soundtrack, and you have the makings of a standout strategy RPG experience. The game itself will take you well over 55 hours to complete, which is full of new characters, skills, and mechanics to keep you invested.
One issue that I encountered was that I wish there were a suspend option during a match. There were times where I died on the final boss several times and wanted to take a break, but I was only able to exit to the stage select screen, which loses all progress made. Also, I wish that you had the option to save Ultra attacks because I hated wasted them on grunts and preferred to save them once I got to the boss.
Fae Tactics is a wonderful adventure with a compelling narrative and a unique battle system. The developers took a chance on creating a memorable experience within the genre, and they accomplished it with the help of a great cast of characters and some incredible moments of gameplay. There are a few options that I wish were available, but whether this is your first time playing a tactical RPG or your hundredth, you will most definitely have a great time.
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