Title: Kitaria Fables
Developer: Twin Hearts
Release Date: September 2, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
As we all sit around and wait for a new Rune Factory entry, there must be something for fans of action and farming games to enjoy. Well, developer Twin Heads isn’t one to make us wait as they have created an indie approach to the genre with Kitaria Fables. And although it may seem light in comparison, there’s a grand farming adventure that awaits those who take on this purr-fect appetizer.
Kitaria Fables has an ambitious narrative as players take on the role of cat soldier of the empire sent to save a town from the growing threat of monsters. However, your role becomes even more significant when a strange book leads to the discovery of magic. It’s here that you learn of four ruins that must be found throughout the lands of Kitaria but expect to do some farming along the way.
The biggest problem with the narrative is that magic is said to have been outlawed. While the citizens bring this up, our cat soldier has no problem turning his back on the empire and just learning magic. There wasn’t a scene of conflict or hesitation, which felt like a missed opportunity to add a bit more emotional weight to the discovery. Regardless, the narrative’s pacing is up to how the player approaches gameplay, but it’s slow and steady for the most part, as much of your time will be spent farming items, exploring, and upgrading.
Players are free to explore and fight at their leisure. However, item management becomes necessary early on, given that space is limited. It’s not unknown for this genre, but I felt like the storage feature could have been better handled. Tools take up room in your inventory, which is a bit overkill considering the sheer amount of items and materials there are to collect.
In fact, you can get pretty far into upgrading without touching the narrative missions, and in many ways, this is needed. Upgrades require a specific number of items and materials collected from enemies. Sure, there are farming aspects in the sense that you grow crops in this game, but a lot of the farming you’ll do will be killing a number of the same enemy of a particular item.
The list of upgradable systems is vast, and they’re all tied to item collecting, making this adventure a long one if you want to unlock the stronger items. However, fans of the genre will recognize the gameloop of farming and selling crops from money to purchase or build new items. This makes farming something that should be on your mind at all times, but you’ll need to upgrade your storage first by collecting materials to hold an abundance of crops used to complete future missions or sell for money.
There’s really no wrong way to approach this game. You can play it mission by mission or spend a few hours focused solely on collecting items to upgrade your equipment to become a powerhouse in the field. Magic is also tied to item collecting which can be equipped to a character in four slots.
These magical abilities are heavily needed in later battles, making them an important element. Still, the place to upgrade them is tied to a hut in the field that doesn’t have a fast travel point, which means you’ll have to walk over to check what items are needed to upgrade your loadout.
Sadly, if you missed any from your storage, you’ll need to walk back and get them. I feel like this game could really use a universal storage system, given that it has multiple towns deep in the field. Further, a fast travel warp should be added outside your farmhouse, limiting the backtracking required from your storage to wherever you’re going next.
There are so many strange quality-of-life exclusions in this adventure that pad the overall run time. Thankfully, missions are properly detailed in the menu, so you’ll rarely be unsure what you should do next. Further, the action system is kept tight and responsive, allowing you to dive out of attack animations and avoid enemy hits. If you feel like it’s getting repetitive, you probably should equip new skills for your character.
Whether you’re exploring dungeons or out in the field, enemies can get overwhelming at times. They’re easy enough to take on one at a time, but when they group up on you, it’s a different story. There are also boss-type enemies that provide items needed for more powerful upgrades. The list of enemies is rather extensive, but their attacks all seem to be similar. Still, I liked the elemental damage system making fights a little more strategical.
Also of these systems amount to an adventure that’s a time investment. This isn’t one to rush through, but you certainly are held back if that’s what you wish to do. Those who will have the most fun will be the ones who spend a few hours farming items, upgrading their equipment, and taking down endless swarms of enemies. There’s also a two-player mode which is wildly fun and speeds up the item farming since you can down enemies quicker.
Kitaria Fables is a pretty game with large and varied environments to explore. There are tons to discover through a bit of trial and error, and your time spent playing is rewarded. The experience is rather chill given that there are no real consequences for death, and you aren’t held to a specific time limit allowing you to truly take on this adventure how you see fit. However, considering the amount of fast travel, I wish the character could run a bit faster.
Kitaria Fables is a laid-back experience of item collecting and farming, all brought together by a decent narrative and a responsive action system. Pace yourself, though, because getting the most of this adventure requires it. However, the artificial padding on the gameplay found in the limited fast travel, lack of universal storage, slow-moving characters, and much more causes some confusion and endless backtracking. This won’t replace your love for Rune Factory, but it’ll definitely supplement your craving for a charming adventure.
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