Can You Quest Through This Fantasy World?
FantasyTales Online is a new, early access game by ‘Cold Tea Studios’ who decided to develop and open their studio with this first published piece. The studio created their own MMORPG with a retro pixel style twist. Nostalgia hits with a breath of fresh air, grabbing your attention to try it. The game is free at this moment, so why not? With an open world concept from ‘WOW’, mixed with an improved pixel art from your favorite Pokemon game, FantasyTales gives you a variety of quests that would have made a smash hit in early 2000, it’s too bad it is only early access.
FantasyTales gives players an open world, multiplayer experience in pixel form. You can customize your character's head and start off in the slightly plagued town where your first quest begins: to exterminate insects. The concept is not unique - World of Warcraft players would find the idea very similar. You travel the map searching for quests to gain gold and obtain better armor and weapons, and that is it. The conversations and the quests themselves are dull with no flair or imagination within this imaginative world. I would not judge the game too much for it is still in early access, but there is a lot of work needed to make this game stand out. A good plot and narrative would be essential to making this game great, alongside quests that would be interesting or at least drive the player to continue. The mechanics would need to be touched up as well and the system itself would need to be heavily worked on to fix and patch glitches in the game.
The music is also something needing much improvement. It gives a decent pixel style soundtrack that would remind you of your favorite Gameboy game, but unlike your favorite titles of the past, it has no variety and the continuous loop will not keep players motivated. Either you are in a cave, outside, or fighting enemies, the main score stays in a loop, making the player wonder what was so special he had just accomplished. Undertale, a recent game that may as well become a classic, takes its own twist on a pixel style game and with a large variety of soundtracks. Not just for different areas, but for each enemy you encounter as well. If FantasyTales learns from its competitors, I believe they can create something that can match.
I would say with all the improvements it needs, the graphics are the one thing that kept me interested; the pixel style is not new or unique, but it can be a refresher when you are tired of repeatedly dying in Dark Souls. It is a nice change with vibrant colors to easily differentiate between characters, reminding you of your Gameboy days. With improved graphics from Pokemon and Legend of Zelda combined, the artist put a lot of effort into creating and mapping their world to the fullest extent. With different style monsters and character designs, I can see this game growing both in variety and style.
Improvements, Corrections, and Glitches need fixing.
The title has a bit to offer, but it needs a lot of work before it can be finished. It is still in early access and the creators are continuously fixing and adding to the game, so I will only comment on some of the problems that occurred through my play through.
It is a great idea to make this a multiplayer RPG title, but there are pros and cons in doing so. It is a great game to ask friends to travel and defeat monsters with, but the system already lags and that is just with the few beta testers that were invited to try it out. Cutting real-time maneuvers where real-time gaming is crucial to fighting enemies. The mechanics are also set heavily on a point and click system, which a lot of times does not register. Once the commands work less with the mouse and polished off, it can be a great game changer. Then lastly, a lot of times the graphics would drop altogether. The map would disappear and all you would see are a few AI’s and your character in the pitch darkness of cyberspace.
There is a lot that can be improved upon, but that may be this game's uniqueness. If players can contribute their ideas and desires and help the creators find the glitches needed to be repaired, then I believe this game could grow into what it needs to be. I would definitely be interested in returning after a couple months to see what improvements they made to the title. It is a simple and entertaining idea and I can’t wait to see what it may become.