Fairy Tail Review

Fairy good JRPG fun!

Release Date
July 31, 2020
Developed by
Gust Corporation
Published by
Koei Tecmo Games
PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Steam

Gust has made character-focused role-playing games for over twenty years. So naturally, we were curious how they would adapt Fairy Tail, which is Hiro Mashima’s renowned fantasy franchise. The Fairy Tail game stylishly adapts the source material. Its traditional role-playing flow captures the series’ dynamic over-the-top magic and lively characters. Even for those who have not experienced the anime or manga, Fairy Tail is still a solid straightforward role-playing game in its own right.

Right from the get-go, the game throws players right into the Fairy Tail universe. It begins at the end of the Tenrou Island arc, which is around the middle of the manga’s story. Natsu and his guild teammates wield elemental magic in heated combat. Soon thereafter, they miraculously escape a catastrophic attack from Acnologia. This sets the stage for the game’s events. Seven years later, Natsu and his friends awaken. However, they have lost a lot of magical aptitude over the years, and they have to rebuild the guild from the ground up.

To boost their fallen reputation, the guild takes on job requests and enters the Grand Magic Games. With the power of trust and bonds, Fairy Tail overcomes rival guilds as well as darkness-wielding enemies lurking in the shadows. Anyone unfamiliar with Fairy Tail should not fret as the plot is relatively easy to follow. Even though the game introduces a lot of characters, everyone’s personality is distinct and memorable. The characters constantly chat and bicker with each other, which draws us into the world of Fairy Tail in an entertaining way. A handy encyclopedia also provides plenty of reference material as it contains plenty of character profiles, lore, and terminology. 

In general, Fairy Tail‘s flow is straightforward. It consistently shows an objective for players to follow. These objectives include exploring town, defeating monsters, talking to other guild members, and so on. Players customize their party, purchase items, and upgrade facilities at their home base before venturing to the designated area. Upon finishing a request, the game automatically asks players to return to base. This is helpful as it keeps the flow moving at a brisk pace. Fundamentally the quests are rather basic, but the dialogue keeps things exciting.

One interesting gimmick is that certain quests require specific party members, which keeps players on their toes. It also helps that the map system is snappy as it allows players to teleport to previously visited town locations or go to the world map instantly. Of course, there are a bunch of optional tasks, too. Players can accept a quest from the bulletin board or fellow guild members. All it takes is one glance at the mini-map to figure out where to go, which is handy since quests often involve backtracking to previous areas or sections of town. Furthermore, players can explore if they want. Each area has plenty of items to find, and numerous villagers require deliveries as well.

Fairy Tail’s combat is straightforward as it takes place via a turn-based role-playing battle system, but it is also quite flashy too. Players tackle enemies placed on a three-by-three grid. Each Fairy Tail member wields a wide variety of elemental abilities: Natsu wields fire, Lucy summons Zodiac spirits, Gray forms weapons out of ice, and so on. These abilities are pretty satisfying to use as they often have extravagant effects and camera angles. Naturally, the characters’ shouts are amusingly over-the-top. Players will quickly unlock more abilities like activating chains attacks. Pressing buttons in sequence activates special attacks and a finisher. The game also shows total damage counts in an over-the-top way.

In general, Fairy Tail is not a particularly difficult game since it is fairly generous. Characters obtain multi-target healing and buff spells early on, and enemies’ weaknesses are clearly displayed in battle. The party also recovers HP/MP upon returning to base, and other mechanics will help players in a pinch as well. The game also provides plenty of opportunities to boost the party’s power, too. Players can upgrade their facilities for tangible buffs, chat with their teammates, spend points to bolster ranks, and so on. Such progression is basic, but the game frames it in a stylish way. 

The game’s presentation is pretty slick as it brings the characters to life with cel-shading and plenty of effects. At times, the characters even have goofy expressions on their faces when they react to their teammates. In battle, each character’s over-the-top skills have convincingly crafted particle effects. The game has plenty of other visual flourishes, too. For example, the anime-styled portraits have small emoji, Lucy’s familiars jump into the fray. Some of the animations such as finishers can take a little while, but each one is honestly fun to watch time and time again. But if players choose, they can skip individual moves or skip animations entirely. The catch is that the frame rate can be rather inconsistent in town and in battle. The game runs smoothly in specific spaces, but most of the time it runs inconsistently. 

Another catch is that sometimes the way the game presents cut-scenes is inconsistent. Sometimes the game uses real-time cut-scenes, but other times the party will do something off screen, and players learn after the fact via a member’s narration. Other times we hear voices over anime stills or voices over a flat background. This lack of consistency can be relatively underwhelming, but the real-time cut-scenes are fairly well constructed. Another Gust trademark is their ability to create entrancing soundtracks, and Fairy Tail’s is no exception. The songs really set the mood for exploration with laid back melodies, and combat frequently has some genuinely catchy high-tempo tunes. 

Despite its visual quirks and inconsistent presentation, Fairy Tail is a solid role-playing game. Anyone can appreciate it regardless of their familiarity with the source material. With its emphasis on simple mechanics and stylized thrills, the game is satisfying. It has plenty of entertaining character interactions, and it really provides a meaningful look into the Fairy Tail world. We wholeheartedly recommend the game to role-playing enthusiasts and anyone interested in a shonen franchise come to life in a simple, solid way.

For additional information, check out the game’s official web site here!

Fairy Tail Review
Fairy Tail
Fairy Tail brings its source material to life with a lively character roster and dynamic battle effects. Although it has some minor visual hitches, it will satisfy anyone seeking a straightforward role-playing game experience.
Stylized combat effects
Snappy map navigation system
Includes a wide variety of playable cast members, each with unique elemental magic
Catchy tunes
Meaningfully introduces newcomers to the Fairy Tail universe
Inconsistent framerate
Visual presentation is sparse at times