Fantasy Life review: Some charming life lessons

3DS; £39.99; Level-5

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The Independent Tech

A vast majority of videogames involve living out somebody else's existence, often someone incredibly good-looking and strong of muscle, and in many respects, Fantasy Life is no exception. Set in the bucolic land of Reveria, you emerge blinking into the morning light and pick a path from those offered to you - much the same as any RPG. These classes offer a wide variety of differing roles to take on, ranging from angler to woodcutter.

The twist comes when you find out you can switch life mid-game, so rather than most role-players where an entirely new start would be required to try a fresh field of expertise, you can simply apply at the guild office for an additional licence and continue as a different class. Then you must speak to the master of your chosen life, who will teach you the relevant skills you require. Each life has a separate set of abilities to learn, but thankfully they are cumulative and therefore progressing in as many disciplines as possible stands you in the best stead for going forward in the story.

It's not long before you find out Reveria is in danger from the Doom Stones, meteorites that emit mysterious dark energy that threatens to overtake the peaceful world with chaos and destruction. Enlisting the help of Flutter, an over-excited butterfly, enables you to infiltrate the King's castle and begin your journey through Reveria.

Whether an alchemist or a hunter, much of the time is spent collecting Reveria's currency, Dosh, so you can stock your bag with superior weapons, strongers armour and plentiful HP potions. Sometimes it feels like the main quest is a distraction from the really important tasks, like furnishing your bedroom and checking your mail. Talking to the townsfolk often yields items you can use, so it's prudent to spend as much time as you can at your home base before heading off for the various locations, which include pirate coves, snowcapped mountains and the ubiquitous desert area.

Multiplayer mode allows you to explore with up to two fellow adventurers, but doesn't allow you to advance the story, so is best used for mining the world for resources as a group before returning stronger to the single-player campaign. StreetPass also enables other players to turn up as characters to talk to in the town square.

Overall, it's a strong package that suffers a little from having plenty of common ground with other titles on the market. Although Fantasy Life perhaps lacks the quintessence of Nintendo's own Animal Crossing, it's still worth investigating by those looking for a game full of longevity and charm.

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