Saturday, March 31, 2007

Feyruna - Fairy Forest Review

Feyruna - Fairy Forest, developed and published by Jochen Kärcher.
The Good: Easy to understand mechanics, constant action, appropriate difficulty, neat spells, lots of levels with a gradual introduction of new enemies and power-ups, unlockable minigames, great graphics
The Not So Good: Becomes repetitive
What say you? A well-designed and entertaining mouse-driven collection game that will appeal to all ages: 7/8

While arcade and puzzle games may get short shrift from “hardcore” or “expert” or “veteran” gamers, they still appeal to a wide audience and can be quite fun. You’ll never see a review of these games on one of the “major” review sites, which obviously means that I am better than them. Feyruna - Fairy Forest is an arcade game where you are a fairy (in a forest) collecting fireflies. But the forces of evil and darkness are there to stop your light-gathering mission of glory. Will you be able to fend them off with your powers of fairy-ness?

Feyruna - Fairy Forest features some of the best graphics seen in a 2-D arcade game. The game features nice models of each of the characters and fantastic backgrounds, some of the best I can remember seeing in a game of this type. The level of detail in the animated (but not distracting) backgrounds is very high. Feyruna proves that you can have great graphics without having to resort to full 3-D effects. The audio in the game is quite standard for the genre and setting: themed background music and appropriate sound effects. Overall, the sound, and especially the graphics, are more than what you’d expect for an arcade game, and Feyruna - Fairy Forest proves to be much better than average.

The object of Feyruna is to collect “glowies” that contain light with your fairy. The “glowies” fly in random or fixed patters around the map, and the round ends when you collect a set number of them. Controlling your fairy is done with the mouse, and that’s really the limit of controls, other than firing and expanding weapons (that you can get in later levels) with the mouse buttons. Obviously, Feyruna - Fairy Forest has really simple controls that are accessible to all experience levels. Preventing your mission are a number of bad guys that eat “glowies” and run into you, and both of these actions fill up the darkness bar. If the darkness bar fills up before the light bar, then you lose the level. Despite the simple controls and straightforward concept, Feyruna - Fairy Forest is quite compelling. The game features constant chaotic action with a good balance of difficulty: the game is never too easy or too hard for the level you are current at in the game. The game gradually introduces more advanced enemies that shoot stuff and follow you more closely, and more spells to combat them with. Spells drop from the sky and can remove airborne and ground-based enemies and give you some ammunition to shoot them with. While the frequency of spells becoming available seems to be fixed, it is balanced very well. Playing through the game’s sixty levels is quite a fun trek, although it does get a bit repetitive (as most arcade or puzzle games do) near the end. Great gaming moments are plentiful in Feyruna - Fairy Forest: narrowly avoiding enemies, catching power-ups, and slim victories are all common in the title. If the sixty levels weren’t enough, there are also three mini-games to enjoy: a memory game, a Gems Cubed-like matching game, and a variation of the base game where you can shoot but not move. The mini-games would be enough as a stand-alone offering for many arcade or puzzle games, but Feyruna - Fairy Forest includes them in addition to the solid basic gameplay.

Feyruna - Fairy Forest is a well-designed, well-executed, and (most importantly) fun arcade game. The controls are so simple that anyone can enjoy the game, and Feyruna - Fairy Forest features constant action and appropriate difficulty for each successive level. Feyruna - Fairy Forest shows that a good idea can go a long way in making and entertaining game. The new spells and enemies that are gradually introduced combine to form a cacophony of chaos for the end-game. And once you’re done, you can enjoy the mini-games that are almost good enough to stand on their own. At $20, Feyruna - Fairy Forest will more than give you your money’s worth in entertainment value, as its solid gameplay and wide appeal makes it a remarkable arcade game.