Fairy Tales: Three Heroes, an indie game, promised a fun experience. It was because of this — and some other reasons — that I chose to review it. And I regret that decision. What I found was not a good time but rather a frustrating, redundant and confusing game.
The gist of Fairy Tales: Three Heroes is that evil has found its way to the lands of our heroes, and they must band together and fight it. You assume the role of Alesha, an archer, during the first part of gameplay, and band together with Dobrinya, who brandishes a bowstaff and can pole-jump over water. Later, you also attain the help of Ilya, a swordfighter. While you’re supposed to switch between them, offering “tactical advantages,” I find myself simply sticking with one character unless I am required otherwise. “Otherwise” being when you simply have to split up or you’re going to die because the game developers assume people are good at that kind of thing.
The graphics are rather brilliant, though the abundance of shaders is noticeable. One could assume that this is to cover up subpar texturing. The grass is very clearly the exact same 2-D texture repeated over and over again with no variety. The grass also throbs, which is concerning. The maps are well-done, except for very obvious invisible walls, forced paths and poisonous water. By this I mean water that kills you when you pole-jump into it as Dobrinya. This is incredibly frustrating, as the ragdoll physics used for the jump can be rather unfair in this regard.
Fairy Tales: Three Heroes is rather difficult. Be it from simple water to a horde of enemies, it can get very, very hard. Too many times have I slipped up just a bit and seen the load select screen. Another thing that makes this game as hard as it is is the fact that there is no autosave feature. That’s correct. There are NO autosaves. It’s incredibly annoying to have to play a section over again because I jumped in some water. In order to be “safe,” you have to save after every cutscene. And god knows you don’t want to repeat a cutscene.
Speaking of cutscenes, they’re just subpar. The voice actors seem to have a thing for making you sit there for as long as possible while they draw out the word “no.” That is, if they can even be considered voice actors, as it seems that they use the same one for up to 10 NPCs, with slight variations. The facial animations don’t match the words at all; the mouths simply move without any regard to what is being said — not the mention the fact that the characters’ arms move in a jittery and erratic fashion.
Now, I may be being a bit too harsh on this game. While it lacks in the aforementioned qualities, I do have to hand it to the musicians. They definitely know how to make a good and fitting song — but they don’t seem to be as adept at making very many of them, as you’ll notice songs repeating a lot. This is, however, easy to overlook and should not detract from your appreciation of the music as a whole.
One of my biggest dislikes about Fairy Tales: Three Heroes is playing as the archer. He’s just so inaccurate and slow. He cannot take out more than one enemy at a time, or he’ll die. This was what I disliked about the first level — you’re completely alone, and suddenly, five boars come after you. That is extremely unbalanced, as archers are meant to attack from the back — not the front lines. Sure, you can get a skill to fire multiple arrows at once, but it’s only good to use it as a shotgun when you’re right next to one opponent.
The load times are simply ridiculous — a level can take up to five minutes to load. Now, it may be partially my fault. I do have a single-core processor (though I’m upgrading to a dual-core soon), but normally no games take this long to load a map. On 3.0GHz, it shouldn’t take THAT long to load.
You have to give the developers credit. It IS an indie game, so you shouldn’t expect a studio-quality game with Fairy Tales: Three Heroes. The developers can’t be expected to create stunning graphics, sound, music, voice acting and gameplay. However, they are expected to not attempt to do so. Starting with a smaller game may have helped gain a reputation, and then maybe they could have attempted a game of this magnitude after gaining more development experience.
All in all, I did not enjoy Fairy Tales: Three Heroes. If you want high-quality graphics, fresh gameplay or amazing voice actors, this game is not for you. You have to commend the developers, however, for the effort put in to make a big game. I think they just needed more resources.