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Fantasy Friends Switch Review
Source: Nintendo


Fantasy Friends Switch Review: Make Believe Friends

A family-friendly Tamogotchi-like title, Fantasy Friends is now available on the Switch and teaches kids how to look after (fantasy) animals.

Don’t judge me: this Fantasy Friends Switch review is based on the observations of my children, as that’s who this game was intended for. It doesn’t appeal to me at all, but for the intended market, it’s been a winner.

First up, the reviewer of this title from Xaloc Studios and Just For Games, is predominantly my three year old, but she left the writing to me. Sitting on my lap while I occasionally helped with the analogue controls, she’s been switching between this and Astro’s Playroom for about a week now and loves it.

It’s essentially a Tamagotchi-type game which would work equally well on mobile too with its touch-like commands. The purpose of the game is to build a world of pets/friends, with ice cream trees and glittering streams – it’s everything a little girl could want, and more so that I could return to Bloodborne. Again.

Fantasy Friends Switch Review

The visuals aren’t particularly amazing, nor are the sounds, but the little one liked it, and that’s the main point. You begin with a base with three eggs sitting on a pedestal, waiting to be hatched. These tutorials are best suited with an adult present, depending on the age of the child, not because it’s difficult, but for the reading element.

Fantasy Friends - Home
Home is where the cat is. Source: Nintendo

Little digits will need to stroke the on-screen eggs for them to hatch, revealing a pet. The first one, which I’m assuming is across the board for all players and not random, was a kitten. An easy option as kids will either like kittens or puppies.

You’re able to create a new home for this fantasy friend, but first, you need to name them

You’re able to create a new home for this fantasy friend, but first, you need to name them. Her first friend was Candy, and initially, you can feed, pet and groom the animal, paying attention to the gauges on-screen that with the pet’s status, i.e. whether they’re hungry or bored, etc.

Pets (or should I say friends?), start little and as you pay them the attention they grow, unlocking new features such as play activities and wardrobes. Again, very similar to Tamagotchis, but much more intuitive and appealing on the eye.

Mana Up

The currency of the game is mana, and that is achieved through your actions. In other words, pay good and regular attention to your fantasy friends, and you’ll be rewarded accordingly. This goes full circle because as soon as you get more mana, you’re either buying more eggs (pets) or gifts for the animals.

Fantasy Friends - Candy
Our version is called Candy. Source: Nintendo

Once Candy grew, another animal hatched – a dragon or dinosaur she named Spike, followed by a monkey called Libby. Again, they start relatively small and through interaction begin to grow, unlocking new gear.

Returning to Candy as she was the origin friend, ‘we’ managed to unlock a new appearance for her, some ball throwing activities, hiding a toy and preparing food – via a cauldron that you have to stir – we all have them, right?

What’s important here is it taught motor skills, and we learned the difference between clockwise and counter-clockwise. It was quite an interesting challenge to repeatedly stir the food; the reward of watching her laugh out loud as the cat demolished it in one go.

As Demanding As The Real Thing

Thankfully the Nintendo Switch doesn’t have the same notifications of other platforms as I would imagine that the animals in Fantasy Friends would frequently alert the player to come back into the game to make a fuss of them.

Despite my gaming roots, playing and writing about video games every single day, I don’t want my kids on the screen every five minutes. Already she asks for Fantasy Friends or Astro’s Playroom daily, and that’s not an option.

Fantasy Friends - World map
World (interactive) map. Source: Nintendo

Each time we load the game, the animals go all puppy-eyed as if we’ve forgotten about them; their gauges looking bleak. However, the sheer satisfaction of watching my daughter learning her responsibilities, albeit fun ones, was brilliant – especially as she had so much fun with things us older gamers would overlook.

So yes, 100% not a game for me – not even to experiment with it, but my youngest loves it and while the older one poo-pooed it a bit as a Tamagotchi title, she secretly wanted to play and was mildly hooked for 45 minutes – attempting to cause havoc for the younger one by spending her mana. Bloody kids.

One for your younger kids, and not for adults – I couldn’t fathom adults playing this one on their own, even if they’re into kawaii-like themes. Fantasy Friends teaches children some additional motor skills, responsibilities and mild consequences of not caring for pets, but ultimately it’s a fun game that gets a recommendation.

The score totals a 7 out of 10

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