Fantasy Life, to be specific.
I've been playing the heck out of this game lately, for those of you haven't already seen me playing it on the 3DS while I was online. Since I've already unlocked all the characters and stages in Super Smash Bros., I've invested my gaming time in a new title entirely, something very unusual for me in the first place: an RPG. I'm terrible at these things, but this game just looked so charming I had to give it a go. Plus, it's developed by Level-5, the same team who brought us the Professor Layton series, so the character designs are not only very unique and diverse, but there are a LOT of adorable characters throughout, some of whom are too precious for words. No doubt I will be drawing something from this game one day, if not a couple somethings. I know of a couple goddesses I've encountered in the story who are total cuties...
On a related note, it's a shame there's almost NO material out there for the game. It's simply too new in the States, and not so popular just yet! But it's been out in Japan for two years now!! I have seen some cute fan art on Tumblr of people's player characters, which is to be expected, as there is a very impressive character creation system with a lot of diversity. When a game has about fifty different sets of eyes and hairstyles to choose from, and nearly ten different shades of skin color, as well as every hair and eye color under the sun, you know you've got a lot to work with. The options are limitless! And this is a 3DS title, mind you!
The game isn't without its shortcomings. It starts off with lots of very simple fetch quests that grow increasingly more difficult, which isn't a huge deal, especially if you choose a life that involves a lot of gathering-- and I do not exaggerate when I say that you will be doing A LOT of gathering. But while the story and dialogue are entertaining, and humorously written, it likes to drag on and on for far too long, resulting in a sort of length that almost feels... forced. One example takes place at the castle, in the middle of a meeting between various leaders of the nearby cities within the land of Reveria, in which a "crazy old man" bursts into the castle to make an announcement, only to be escorted out of the room by the castle guards. Turns out I actually needed to talk to that guy, so I'm instructed by the king to leave the area, locate said man, and speak with him. I then find out that the old man had a former student who is the key to what I'm after, and so I receive a prompt to visit the inn where he was last seen. The innkeeper confirms the old man's student had stayed there, informing me where he came from. The only person who might know where he can be found now is the governor of his native land, and wouldn't you know it, that governor is attending a meeting with other sovereign leaders at the castle right now... in the very same room where that old man first burst into. Would've been awfully nice to know that when he first entered, saving me a lot of needless running about.
The difficulty curve on this game is also all-the-fuck-over the place. It starts out super easy to get into with its simple play style, but areas that are introduced to you very early in the story-- and are exceedingly easy for that portion of the story and that portion alone-- become practically impossible if you are to revisit those areas immediately afterward. No no no, you're not ready to go to this particular location that you were already introduced to. There are monsters here ten times your size that weren't even here the first time! Come back again once you've leveled up about forty levels or so! Another thing, regarding the game's level system: you can level up your character all the way to Level 100, but you also have twelve different Lives you can choose from, with different skill sets to each one, none necessarily being the best for every situation. The Lives are interchangeable, though, and you can very easily go back and forth between them at any time... assuming you don't mind going all the way to the nearest city just to do so. There are also the inevitable instances of being unable to level up to the next rank of your chosen Life, because you haven't spoken with the proper NPC who assigns you that one mission that's worth all the points you need to rank up, and he could be absolutely anywhere in Reveria. There is DLC for this game, too, that allows you to level all the way up to Level 200. It also introduces new locations, items, and another chunk of story, as well as its own set of new challenges to take on. It's very fleshed out, but be prepared to drop nine bucks for it, making this game effectively $50 altogether when you include taxes.
Despite its obvious flaws, Fantasy Life is more charming than I thought it would be, and more fun than I was expecting. It's absolutely worth playing, delivering an engaging experience and all kinds of reasons to keep playing. It's certainly above average, and far from mediocre, and it's clear a lot of love went into it; that classic Nintendo polish is very evident. The DLC, while a bit costly, does add a lot more to it, making it a very fulfilling game. Unfortunately, I feel there wasn't a lot of thought put into how to make this game more inviting and accepting for newcomers to RPG's. And maybe it's because I'm a newcomer to the genre that I'm not so great at it. I've played some exceptions, of course, like Okami, for example, but as a console game, this kind of length makes more sense to me. It feels as though Fantasy Life is forced to lengthen itself by any means possible simply because it's a portable game, which I feel is much the same reason Okamiden on the Nintendo DS just couldn't live up to its predecessor. But the mobile aspect of Fantasy Life, doubled with its cutesy art style and simple gameplay mechanics, makes it that much more addicting. You want to pick it up and play it any time, but you also want to do that all of the time... I've sunk a lot of time into it, I'll confess, but not to worry; I haven't neglected my commissions. I ran into a hurdle with my last one, forcing me to redo about half of the picture, but I'm onto something with it now, so that should be finished shortly. But I digress, as I've pretty much turned this journal into a game review at this point, so I might as well give it a rating.
Fantasy Life for the Nintendo 3DS gets my rating of 7.5/10.