The Legend of Fae is the first commercial release from indie developers, Endless Fluff Games. It combines elements from the puzzling and RPG genres to very good effect and follows an extremely well researched and written storyline.
The story is that of a young girl, Claudia, who lives with her uncle on Sea Cross Island, a pleasant and peaceful haven where, with the aid of her uncle, she overcame a terrible illness that resulted in her wearing a leg brace. One day she wakes to find her uncle is missing, all that is left is a mysterious book and a lantern. She sets off to search for her absent relation but instead finds the island has been overrun by strange creatures and the people are missing. However, all is not as it seems. The lantern, she discovers, has magical properties and enables her to see invisible faery folk. From here she teams up with four elemental faeries: Fire, Water, Earth and Wind, to battle the creatures and unlock the secrets behind her uncle’s and the islander’s disappearance.
The story is told via dialogue boxes. Although there’s not too much reading involved it does manage to pack in quite a bit of information. Once you pass the initial story, you are presented with a map of the island. Glowing points represent the possible locations you have available to visit, with each location a chapter in the story that you have to work through, battling various creatures of a mythological nature and collecting items to build up your abilities in a kind of tech tree.
The screen is split horizontally, the top part displays the cartoon-esque RPG part of the game, Claudia travelling around the various locations, or chapters, of the island, and the lower half is made up of a Bejewelled-esque game. This may sound a little odd at first, but anyone who has ever played Puzzle Quest will know what I mean. Everything you do in the RPG part of the game is controlled by the Bejewelled part, by this I mean the coloured orbs represent different actions. For instance, if you horizontally slide three purple orbs together then that builds up Claudia’s movement action, so in effect she walks along the top screen through the chapter. Matching up three (or more) red orbs will build up the fire element’s powers, blue for the water, green for the earth and yellow for the wind. When the elements power meters are suitably full, they will appear floating around Claudia.
Now, this is where the game gets really interesting. When travelling through the chapters you will come across lots of different types of enemies to battle: Gremlins, Flying beasties, Giant Plants etc. all of which are a part of faery folk-lore and control one of the four elements. By using your elements you can cause critical hits on the targeted enemies, but only if the elements can cancel each other out. For example, your water element can destroy a fire-based enemy with a critical hit, or your fire element is able to wipe out one of the earth-based giant plants. Think of it as a complex rock-paper-scissors, if that helps.
Casting the elements drains their power, so once used you will have to drop back down into the Bejewelled section to match up some coloured orbs and rebuild your powers. Unfortunately, the creatures you battle also have the ability to cast spells against you, and whilst you’re building up your elemental’s powers you are vulnerable to attack. To help shield you against the attacks of the enemy, you can click on one of your fully powered elements, this will give you a temporary shield based on the powers of that element, however, it also means that the element’s power will be drained and you will need to build it back up again by matching the orbs.
There are a phenomenal amount of combinations and extra’s that can be mixed together with the powers of your elements and, as I said before, building up the tech tree allows you and your elements to gain more health and more abilities. Needless to say, as you progress the faery creatures become more and more powerful and plentiful. Don’t be surprised, at some points in the game, to be surrounded by a dozen or so at once.
The only real gripe I had with Legends of Fae was profile stability. When creating a new profile, I often encountered an error that looked like a VB script error code. Clicking OK a few times brought me back to the main screen again, which when selected, worked a second time. A bit odd, perhaps it was just my copy on a 64-bit machine? As the rest of the game is very well polished, I’ll put that down to bad luck. Okay, there were a few grammatical errors, but none that stood out glaringly or ruined the impact of the story.
The graphics are very pretty and very well drawn, adopting a cartoon-like quality that blends cute with powerful evil magic to an excellent effect. The music can, thankfully, be turned down; although good it does tend to drone on after a while. But it’s the story that captivates you, the mythology of fairy/faery folklore and elemental magic has been researched to a degree you would normally find in a fantasy novel; very immersive and entertaining. Legend of Fae is a first class game, featuring some wonderful game mechanics and ideas.
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