I reviewed this game over at Nintendo Life — please go support my work over there, then join me back here to delve into the game in more detail!
It’s abundantly clear when you’re experiencing a creative work that was genuinely special to the people who made it.
The end result of such a passion project might be scraggy around the edges, it might not be technically perfect and you can probably find things that are “better”, whatever that means… but for me, finding something with genuine heart and soul will always trump big budgets and technical efficiency.
And so we come to Dead or School from Studio Nanafushi, a passion project that certainly still has a few scraggy edges even after two years in Early Access on PC… but a game that captured and maintained my attention from the moment I booted it up to the time the last of the credits scrolled off the screen. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Dead or School: A Passion Project Pays Off
Fairune and Fairune 2 were originally available as separate games for mobile devices and Nintendo 3DS, but in more recent releases for Switch and Windows PC, you’ll find them packaged as part of the Fairune Collection alongside two pleasant little extras: Fairune Origin and Fairune Blast.
The two titles are fairly self-explanatory — Fairune Origin is essentially the prototype for what would become the first Fairune, while Fairune Blast is a shoot ’em up themed after the series — but they’re both well worth playing in their own right.
Plus they’re pretty interesting in that they essentially represent both the genesis of and the conclusion to the series as a whole — well, that is unless creator Yuumi “Skipmore” Kimura decides to give us any more, of course — so let’s take a closer look at both.
Continue reading Fairune Origin and Blast: Beginning and End
After the first Fairune successfully proved that you can make something that looks convincingly like an action RPG into a two-hour puzzle adventure, the natural next step for creator Yuumi “Skipmore” Kimura was to go bigger.
With that in mind, Fairune 2 is a considerably expanded affair over its predecessor, but maintains the same compelling, enjoyable and oddly relaxing blend of light action RPG elements, item-based puzzle solving and mind-bending navigation brainteasers.
If you’re coming straight from the first one, it might not subvert quite as many expectations as that one did — in that it’s a lot more of “the same” — but it is similarly delightful, and a pleasure to explore. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Fairune 2: It’s Exactly What It Looks Like
Fairune is a game that, at first glance, could be mistaken for an homage to the original The Legend of Zelda, the early Ys games or perhaps even Hydlide if you’re a real hipster.
It’s a top-down open-world game presented in chunky pixel art, in which you defeat enemies by simply running into them. You collect items which allow you to access new areas or provide you with new abilities, and your ultimate aim is to explore the whole world thoroughly until you locate three plot-critical doohickeys, at which point you descend into the final dungeon, rescue the three equally plot-critical fairies, kick the snot out of the Big Bad and then relax, safe in the knowledge of a Job Well Done.
However, it does just a few things a little bit differently to what you might expect from that description. And those little differences are enough to make it a unique experience well worth your time.
Continue reading Fairune: It’s Not What It Looks Like