Blood and guts. Include too much in a game and it can end up looking tacky, like in the early Mortal Kombat games when you performed a fatality and an absurd half a dozen rib cages burst out of your opponent. Fairytale Fights manages to get the amount of gore just right – thereâ€™s plenty of it, yet it doesnâ€™t look out of place. This is a little bizarre considering that the cartoon styling may fool some into initially thinking that this is a kidâ€™s game. It couldn’t be further from the truth – the fairytales told here are deeply twisted, with Hansel and Gretel being conjoined twins and the Pied Piper luring women into his house instead of rats.
With infinite lives, drop-in-drop-out co-op play and similar camera angles, Fairytale Fights has clearly been influenced by the Lego games. First impressions are favourable enough – the graphics are bright and breezy with some detailed backdrops while cutting enemies in half – complete with an extreme close up on the side of the screen – is mildly entertaining. The potions are quite fun to use too – throw a pot of acid at an enemy and their skin peals off their bones in a distributing manner, just like scene at the end of Gremlins where Spike falls into the water fountain. The boss battles are creative and sometimes require some thought, but hereâ€™s the problem – the levels leading up to them are long and tedious, with little variation in enemies and hardly any set-pieces.
Take the Candy Witchâ€™s kitchen as an example – there are only two different enemy types to encounter and it takes over an hour to finish with no mid-level save points, so youâ€™re pretty much forced to play though the whole chapter in one sitting. Itâ€™s something unheard of in this day and age when gamers expect checkpoints to be mere minutes apart.
The bad stuff doesnâ€™t end there – it makes no difference which of the four playable character you pick, be it Jack (of the giant beanstalk fame) or Red Riding Hood, as they have no individual skills. The same goes for the weapons – thereâ€™s more than 100 in four different categories, including some daft ones such as lampposts and fishing rods, but they all have the same effect – either cutting enemies in half or bashing them to death. The only difference is that some do more damage than others.
Itâ€™s ironic, really. There are some cheap thrills to be had, but cheap Fairytale Fights certainly isnâ€™t – itâ€™s a full price release. If the levels were shorter, the save points more frequent and it were released on Xbox Live Arcade for about a tenner then this review would have been a whole lot more positive. But that sadly isnâ€™t the case and the reality is that despite a promising premise and likeable art direction, it really isnâ€™t worth the asking price.