When I got my Switch and got the chance to try the Kitaria Fables demo, I was pretty excited: a platformer/puzzle game with RPG elements? That’s exactly what I love playing, and on a home console?! I had to check it out. So, I played on, and it didn’t take long before I realized I was getting more than what I bargained for: a remarkably atmospheric and beautiful puzzle game with an interesting, if sometimes frustrating, story and some neat ideas. It’s a great game, and I highly recommend it—perhaps not for the casual gamer, but if you like thinking and want to be challenged, it’s definitely worth taking a look.
Cats are nature’s ideal – excuse me, purrfect – killing machines, but they were bred to be little and non-threatening as a cruel joke. It’s a notion I really believe since it explains their often irritated demeanor. It seems that I’m not the only one who thinks this way, since Twin Hearts seemed to agree with me. They try to make up for that by giving felines not just weapons but also the ability to perform different kinds of spells: it’s your funeral, people. Since the release of Rune Factory 5 has been postponed until next year, many eager players are looking forward to the farming/combat hybrid experience. Kitaria Fables, on the other hand, promises to quench your thirst with a familiar gameplay cycle and a colorful environment.
Harvesting, growing, murdering, and gathering are all important aspects of this quest. I’ve been lucky enough to be neck-deep in this adventure for about a week now, after many painful months of anticipation. There have been times when I’ve been happy, but there have also been times when I’ve been disappointed. I’ve been promoting this game nonstop since learning about it, and the issue now is whether it lives up to the hype.
There’s a lot of exploring to be done.
Legend has it that a Calamity devoured all of Canoidera, throwing it into a period of darkness. A strange force started to spread throughout the country, turning formerly peaceful animals into ravenous monsters. They weren’t going down without a fight, however, as many heroes held their ground with weapons drawn. Combat raged, and after a long uphill fight, they successfully vanquished the evil, and peace ruled once again. Everyone emerged from concealment and went about their daily lives as if nothing had occurred. But the peace didn’t last long, and rumors of the Calamities’ reappearance spread quickly. With the heroes of old having died, it raises the issue of what will happen to Canoidera.
You play as Nyanza von Whiskers, a knight of The Capital City, in a world where magic is forbidden. They’re both entrusted with safeguarding Paw Village, with her pink puffball companion Macaron at her side. It also happens to be the home of her grandpa, who has graciously agreed to let you stay on his farm. The next adventure entails assisting the anthropomorphic people with small chores, tending to the fields, and slashing the wild creatures. But, unbeknownst to either of our protagonists, things are about to become worse. Soldiers from Nyanza von Whisker’s unit have started marching into all of the towns. Furthermore, the fact that she has magical powers of her own adds to the confusion.
The rain has begun, oh no!
The narrative is classic slice-of-life material, and it’s a good time is had by everyone. It’s a happy-go-lucky adventure that has you helping the residents of Canoidera with different tasks, such as collecting apples for Apple Pie. Despite the RPG elements, there isn’t much character development in Kitaria Fables. There are a few flashes of inner turmoil, but nothing really significant. That may come as a surprise to some, but as a self-proclaimed literary snob, I found plenty to appreciate in this collection. The NPCs have a sliver of personality that makes them stand out. The village Elder is a well-spoken billy goat, and the children are all carefree. Besides, I wasn’t anticipating a fantastic story when I entered Kitaria Fables. After all, the farming and action genre is renowned for its addictive gameplay cycle, and it is addicting.
The illegality of magic is seldom addressed early in the game, but I believe it is very much present. Nyanza struts about aimlessly, hurling flame cyclones and earth-element chainsaws at will. However, as the narrative continues, this shifts, and it starts to wiggle its way back into the spotlight. Not only that, but it adds a great twist to the story. Until that moment, the story had been pointing in one way. It was unexpected, indeed, unforeseen, for it to go in a different direction. It kept me interested, and although it wasn’t revolutionary, it did a good job of fleshing out the setting.
Even though I didn’t care much for the characters, I had something concrete to chew on, and that was worth its weight in gold. One issue I’d want to bring up is the crutch of inheriting Grandpa’s land — it’s become a cliché in slice-of-life games. Story of Seasons, I’m looking at you. Kitaria Fable deserves credit for attempting to do something new with it.
That Macaron doesn’t seem to be edible…
I’m not a big fan of slice-of-life movies, but there’s one aspect I’ll always enjoy. Universal Storage may be thought of as having access to your inventory bank in any city, regardless of where it was first deposited. The presence of such a mechanism reduces the unnecessary tedium of retracing. So I was perplexed when I found Kitaria Fables lacked it. This is the one element of the game that I truly hate.
Allow me to explain: the loading screens contribute to this stutter. Before you get your pitchforks, keep in mind that it’s really very fast. Each one lasts just a second, so you’ll be back in action in no time. That, on the other hand, adds up quickly when you have to come home on a regular basis, and therein is the issue. While it seldom consumes more than an hour, it disrupts any momentum and is just a drag. Nyanza’s inability to move quickly from the outset doesn’t help things. Whether you’re asking if this is something you can ignore, the answer is no.
Another thing that this genre has in common is craftsmanship. The player must build their own equipment in order to acquire more durable equipment. Kitaria Fables claims this very thing, which should come as no surprise. Weapons, armour, and small accessories are included with their stat boosts. When I first started my journey, I used the storage box near my farmhouse on a regular basis. Even though I had an improved backpack, I continued to use it. The sheer number of content is commendable, but it also adds to the requirement for universal storage, which Kitaria Fables lacks.
What perplexes me is that there are wooden boxes strewn around, implying that the basis for such a system exists. That tells me that this was probably the idea, but it was abandoned for whatever reason. Whatever the issue may be, it’s a pity since continually going backwards is both tiresome and inconvenient. Those with memory difficulties are the ones who are most bothered by it. I was notorious at forgetting things called for in a recipe, resulting in much more back-and-forth than the typical individual. As you can see, flexible storage is beneficial not only for quality of life but also for accessibility. If my continuous hinting wasn’t enough, let me state unequivocally: Kitaria Fables necessitates flexible storage.
So, I’m afraid I can’t afford the nice things…
Kitaria Fables’ fighting is typical of Action-RPGs in that it takes place in real time with certain intrincacies. First, there are shortcuts, which allow any technique or item to be activated with a single button push. There are a total of eight, with an equal number of skills and goods. I highly advise saving one for a health item, since the activity will continue despite the inventory being open. Because I would automatically do this, I died a few times, only to meet my creator in the background before I could even recover. While we’re on the subject of controls, the default layout is a little strange. This is fortunately addressed with configurable prompts, again another outstanding accessibility feature worthy of praise.
It soon becomes apparent how costly crafting can be. In addition, the better the quality, the higher the demand. See, it’s not only things that are required; money is also required, and it may cost up to 25,000 Paw Pennies – Canoidera’s currency. Crops, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, will be the way to go when it comes to feeding the pocketbook. I experimented with growing and selling, and discovered some fascinating results. As you can see, the profit margin varies, with the majority being 50%. However, when seeds purchased from a certain merchant are planted, as well as maize, this experiences a significant increase.
The most creative village name was chosen as the winner.
Please check the table below for a comprehensive breakdown of not just the cost of 50 seeds for most crops, but also the profit generated. Keep in mind that, since this is also an RPG, you may sell more knickknacks.
There were no framerate dips throughout my whole experience. However, I did detect a smidgeon of jankiness in the movements of the character models. When Nyanza raised and swung her axe, she would stutter for a split second before moving on to the next stroke. It didn’t bother me enough to call it jarring, but I could see it being a problem for people who are sensitive to odd motions. It seemed odd and might benefit from some ironing. At the same time, I adored a few of others, such as her rolling animation as she went to sleep. The game stopped struggling in other areas and was unfazed by a wet forecast. Overall, the performance was tight, with the exception of one little jank.
The soundtrack is both calming and comforting, which is a pleasant surprise. I couldn’t help but grin and feel at ease when I saw the Paw Village motif. Every tune was arranged, which tickled my eardrums. I wasn’t expecting to be surrounded by gentle violin and flute thoughts. It’s a bit of a nitpick not to have included any animal noises, but that’s a minor quibble. The atmosphere was another something I enjoyed. I’ll be gushing over the sound of rain for the rest of my life. It’s a difficult task to properly recreate the sound, but Kitaria Fables succeeded. I was particularly taken by the sound of water drops striking your home’s roof. It’s a stupid thing to get worked up over, but the atmosphere contributed to the whole experience.
The frightened cat is fleeing. Is that clear?
Kitaria Fables is a fantastic journey marred by a few poor decisions. That, however, had no effect on how much fun I had and how enamored I became with its intrinsic appeal. I had a great time playing this game, and although a few important aspects were lacking, I didn’t mind. The battle was entertaining enough, and each of the people you encountered was charming in their own way. While there is a grind, it is mostly focused on gathering supplies. Even for some who were averse to the concept, the fights kept me interested since I had to respond quickly to assaults.
Twin Hearts, on the other hand, does an excellent job at telegraphing opponent assaults. It’s entertaining to evade before hitting, and since the damage is so apparent, it’s ultimately your responsibility. Unfortunately, this does not change the fact that I would have liked to become friends with the locals and access unique events. Everyone is so fluffy and cute, but the game isn’t as well-developed as it might be.
The graphical fidelity harkens back to the PS2’s latter years, but it also has a charismatic quality to it.
While the game was entertaining, the continuous need to backtrack became tiresome and made playing a chore at times.
The soundtrack, particularly that awful rain, was nicely done for a slice-of-life journey.
Again, tedium wins out and detracts from a game that should be a blast.
Final Score: 7.5
Kitaria Fables is currently available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and 5, as well as Steam.
On the Nintendo Switch, a review was conducted.
The publisher sent me a copy of Kitaria Fables.
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