Kitaria Fables is a game that in my head actually sounded really good the first time I heard about it… well, almost! Developed by Twin Hearts, a team consisting of three people from Yogyakarta, Indonesia and published by PQube, the game takes on a mix of the traditional action RPG adventure along with the farming simulation elements which are easily two of my favourite genres when it comes to video games in general so to say that I am a bit biased is a huge understatement. I won’t be making any promises but I’ll try to be a little bit civilized about this at least…
Players take on the role of Nyanza, an Empire soldier that just got assigned to defend Paw Village which is a petite and quiet town that has recently seen an increase in monster activity. Being the grandchild of a recently deceased farmer, they take up residence in the abandoned farmhouse where he’d eventually stumble upon the Empire’s secrets and the fact that he has the innate ability to learn and use magic. It’s something that’s heavily outlawed by the Empire which puts him at huge risk despite it being the only thing that would be able to defeat the looming threats to befall later.
Inspired by games such as Rune Factory, the trio wants to give players a similar experience but with a more simplified farming system and with greater emphasis on its combat. Something that definitely shows on its structure and gameplay however this is the part where I also say that its simplicity is a bit too simple for my taste. The farming sim elements despite it being simple and easy to learn also ends up becoming its bigger flaw due to how it never evolves into this major aspect of the game other than a sort of money-maker or the fact that it lacks any major farm-related tools to support the idea. Meanwhile, the combat which is supposedly where most of the focus is centred on didn’t felt anything special either. You don’t actually get the exhilarating combat you get from most games and you definitely don’t need to but the fact that it can be a bit cumbersome and unwieldy gives off a cheap feel for its adventure.
Its lack of a levelling and class system is kind of where the problem stems from… sure there is great freedom towards the kind of skills you can attach to your feline avatar however it also lacks a cohesive character build setup and with levels being pretty much non-existent, stronger monsters still stay stronger without any proper gear upgrades to make up for its lack of stat-boosting perks. On the other hand, exploration and quests in Kitaria Fables become the driving force for the game’s overall narrative. You’ll go through hoops to complete one quest and into the next which does offer a more focused direction to what you could be doing at any point in time and this translates to exploring the three main biomes which is a bit interesting to explore the first time around. However, you’ll also be going through them quite a number of times so that excitement fades far too quickly especially considering how small each area is and the lack of respawning collectables or materials takes off the need to be in them that often.
However, Kitaria’s greatest flaw would definitely go to its lack of a better Hotbar to do its daily tasks. While you can set up to four abilities using each of the shoulder and trigger buttons on your controller, the directional buttons also have their own dedicated shortcut tools which for its daily tasks could never really be enough for anything. Between the need to till the land to prepare it for planting to gathering water in order to for your crops to grow aside from having a pickaxe or a lumber axe to rid your field of rocks and debris, it becomes one huge visit to the inventory to set the rest of these tools before you can do any of the other tasks which it could literally take you all day to do at first. Just having to know that you’d be going through your inventory for each day makes it nearly impossible to keep your sanity in check.
However, despite all of this, Kitaria Fables is one that could still very much appeal to fans of both genres especially when you’re presented with the cutesy and vibrant graphics of its world and environment and the sole fact that you can do local-coop with a friend or family member to do even the most mundane of tasks like a helper to set up your field for planting or harvest or maybe an extra and literal hand or two against monsters that would generally beat the living crap out of you. So in a nutshell, it’s almost a good game if you have someone to play with or don’t have an actual need for anything more complex than what it already does.
Developer: Twin Hearts
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One
Purchase your prefered version https://pqube.co.uk/kitaria-fables/
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch Version of the game.
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