Monday, January 23, 2012


PUBLISHER: Pixel and Texel

Progress: Halfway

This app is a witty, little role playing game (RPG) game I picked up during a promotional free download. Fara is just the kind of light-hearted easy to play game I was looking for on my iPhone. The story in this RPG doesn't require franchise knowledge and a deep imagination, in fact, it doesn't take itself too seriously at all and even jokes about the user; breaking that forth wall in some comedic ways.

Your character in Fara is a lost scientist who finds himself on a mysterious island, seemingly from the past. Nothing about the island is familiar, from its name and location to its bizarre Norse-like inhabitants. After communicating with the first few friendly inhabitants they will comment on a strange creature, called a Furolles, that has attached itself to the hero's arm. This creature not only talks and cracks jokes at your expense but will act as your weapon. Shortly after discovering this, the inhabitants of the island start to refer to you as their "chosen one". They start to send you out on "go and fetch" type quests each of which will help you unlock more of the Fara storyline.

The graphics are two dimensional sprites in a top down view of a world, not unlike, a well known 80's classic, The Legend of Zelda. The communication between characters is done in a very Japanese RPG (JRPG) method of showing hand drawn faces in text boxes. The art of these faces is nice but mostly it is fun to see the characters up close. None of these graphics are going to win any awards and the same can be said for the accompanying music which is straight of the of the 8-bit era.

What I do really like is the touch controls are easy to pick up even without the simple tutorial that the game provides. Weapon and inventory navigation are smartly tucked away in the lower corners of the screen and do not interfere by blocking the view of the game. In the option menu you can switch from the Touch controls to the more traditional Virtual controllers popular in most app games. I highly recommend the touch controls as you lose so much of the precious iPhone screen by displaying the Virtual controls.

My biggest problem with Fara is it lacks any sense of completion. The game keeps track of the quests you have completed in a stats menu. However in-game it can feel like nothing has changed. For example in one quest your asked to look for evidence of a lost person, eventually you will find a note this lost person left behind. After reporting the note your mission is completed. The problem occurs when you return to the area where the note was found; the note will still be there like you never found it. This problem continues throughout the game. Another fetch quest require you to find four out of four items, thing is you can continue to collect them from the same locations and get more like 8/4 items. You can't really make any impact in a game world where every item remains where it was originally placed.

Fara isn't the best game out there but it is a fun little romp. The gameplay isn't hard and the story is just good enough to keep you interested. If you have a plane ride or a long car trip coming up I recommend picking it up. It's a bit like having a knock off Zelda with slightly updated graphics in your pocket.

Fara is available from the App Store

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