You are currently viewing Light Fairytale Episode 1: A classic and curious beginning (PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One) – MaXoE

Light Fairytale Episode 1: A classic and curious beginning (PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One) – MaXoE

Released in 2019 in dematerialized form on PS4, Xbox One and PC, Light Fairytale (Episode 1) returns to us in this year 2022 with a beautiful physical PS4 edition (including a booklet/manual as well as the OST) through the distributor Red Art Games. The opportunity to offer you our impressions of the first episode of this JRPG with multiple inspirations from the 90s (the golden age of the genre).

Yes, it’s quite rare to point it out, Light Fairytale adopts an episodic format, a form that we find more often for narrative stories, even if recently the Final Fantasy VII Remake took this same “episodic” path. by being split into three parts. For its part, Light Fairytale is also planned in four episodes, two of which have already appeared, episode 1 in question today, and the second part has been available since 2021 on Xbox, PC and PS4 in dematerialized form. But the adventure could never have seen the light of day without the motivation, work and passion of its author.

Designed by a single person, the studio neko.works, based in France, first went through a participatory campaign on Kickstarter in 2016 under the name Project Light (which will become Light Fairytale). Unfortunately, the campaign was unsuccessful due to lack of funding. But rather than cancel his project, the author, having the ambition to create his own games, has somehow put this JRPG aside. This to make way for Super Night Riders, an arcade racing game released the same year (2016). The latter’s income was the main source of funding for Light Fairytale. Two years later (November 2018), the first episode of Light Fairytale appeared in Early Access on Steam before a final release in 2019. 2022 marks its return to the spotlight, both thanks to this PS4 physical edition, but also when it was released more recently (last April) on Nintendo Switch.

A dystopian universe, and multiple references

The adventure begins in a dystopian world, the inhabitants live in a small underground city: Lower City. Ruled by the orders of the government of the Empire, these villagers, nicknamed scavengers, somehow survive by obeying the will and working hard for the Empire. In addition, this underground city is divided into several strata, that is to say that the more the inhabitants live towards the depths, the poorer and more destitute they are, the echo of Final Fantasy VII and Midgar are so feel. Yet it has not always been so… A long time ago the world was prosperous, moreover science and technology were very advanced, even to the point that humans lived in excess. But an unexpected phenomenon happened soon enough, and this prosperous world was destroyed. Humanity therefore survived by burrowing underground for thousands of years, and this part of history was then forgotten…

Today, the young, naive, dreamy and lazy Haru dreams of a vast plain, and a “blue ceiling”, something he has never seen: “the sky”. . Accompanied by his childhood friend Kuroko, combative, adept at technology, and secretly in love with his friend, Haru decides to try to discover this famous blue sky by trying to get to the surface. But to do this, he will have to “escape”, and rebel against the Empire…

A dystopian world, social class inequalities, an underground city without access to real daylight, how not to think of Final Fantasy VII (we mentioned it earlier), the Tales of series (Arise, Vesperia,…), or even an episode whose inspiration we strongly feel Breath of Fire – Dragon Quarter: an underground world, and a hero, who is ready to do anything to get back to the surface of the world to save little Nina.

As for these aforementioned games, we discover that the characters have what it takes to become endearing over time (personality). It must be said that their interactions, sometimes optional, and therefore easily missed, or not, bring more depth to their friendship relationship based on jokes, bickering, jealousy, or even certain more adult allusions, quite present, be it said in passing. We are obviously only talking about this first episode and what it consists of. To see if the sequel remains on this beautiful promise.

Note also that this first part of the adventure can be experienced initially from Haru’s point of view, then from Kuroko’s after having finished the game for the first time. The changes between the two heroes are not drastic, but rather light, with the characters separating only slightly. This feature, already seen elsewhere, therefore has a certain potential, to be seen for the following episodes -which are logically not treated here, this test being based only on this first part-.

Traditional basics

With its inspirations from the 90s, or even the aforementioned games, the gameplay of Light Fairytale will not disorient the aficionados of JRPGs. There are interconnected areas, NPCs to converse, interactions to recover consumables / objects, or completely optional sequences. There is also access to a mini-game, the traditional equipment / magic system (via orbs), very little used in this first part, and of course clashes against opponents.

These random battles can arise in two ways, either through predefined circular areas or by progressing in a more classic way. In both cases, a transition is taking place to make way for more traditional turn-based JRPG combat.

You can use objects, perform a guard, use magic (in exchange for MP), attack with a main weapon or even via special abilities unique to each character: protection for Haru for example. With this data, it’s up to you to take advantage, exploit the opponent’s weaknesses, heal,… which, by the way, shouldn’t be too complex.

Last point of these confrontations, know that after having received enough strikes, by filling a specific gauge, the two protagonists can use a “fury” technique, again new to each. For a first draft, it’s easy to access, and the balancing is generally well balanced, a pity nevertheless that we don’t take advantage of more panels of possibilities.

and classic graphics

Now let’s get to the technical/chart part. Tested on PS5 through backwards compatibility, we didn’t encounter any particular problems. Visually, the software uses the Unity engine for its models, whether for its characters in Chibi, as we have already seen in other productions stamped JRPGs, as well as for the few more industrial settings. The title also benefits from very beautiful detailed artworks, and anime sequences.

Musically speaking, Terry Chandler’s themes are well suited to the situations experienced. Remember that this physical PS4 version contains the OST and its twelve titles in CD format. Finally, if the title does not offer real dubbing, the subtitles are available in Japanese, English or French, with very slight shells throughout the text.

Tested on PS5 via PS4 backwards compatibility

Inevitably, the episodic format of Light Fairytale is quite damaging for this kind of experience, namely a JRPG requiring time before putting its context / plot and its characters in place. Difficult therefore with a single episode to affirm or invalidate the final quality of the complete title. But for now, the first basics make us want to find out what can happen next, even if the lifespan shows little and leaves a feeling of dearth. We are therefore waiting to see the sequel / finality with a certain curiosity, this episode being full of promises to come.