An easily accessible action RPG with farming, stripped of in-depth mechanics, but without scrimping on the fun. Kitaria Fables features some easy combat and satisfying farming, but the highlight has to be local co-op, exploring with a friend in this vibrant and enchanting land.
Developer: Twin Hearts
Platform: PS4, PS5 (this version), PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X
A fun, if loose story that doesn't dominate gameplay
Easily accessible for casual and younger players
Cute, vibrant visuals
Lots of backtracking
Combat and farming might be too simplistic for some
Managing inventory can be a pig
No levelling system, just new gear
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There’s nothing good about empires – even the once decent film magazine – they all seem to be a bunch of goons. Kitaria Fables isn’t much better. Yeah, they were there at the uprising when all the monsters went nuts, then they cleared off.
Even worse, they banned magic! Tell that to your speccy friend at school, and there’s no way scarface will be leaving from under the stairs. Being deprived of your magic ability is against your rights, but what if you don’t even know you have it in the first place?
Take our hero Nyan (Nyanza Von Whiskers. Understandably, she’ll be referred to as Nyan). She’s a soldier in the empire, accompanied by Kirby’s shadow, Macaron. They’re from the pure archetype gene pool, intent on saving the people and the lands through good old fashioned heroics and farming.
Kitaria Fables Review
They arrive in Paw Village to help the residents as some of the ‘wildlife’ on the fringes are starting to go bad and randomly attack people. Cue some swings of the sword and FFVII victory fanfares, and Nyan has found a good vocation.
However, the bad stuff that happened in Canoidera, the land that this takes place in, has kicked off – known as The Calamity. Meeting up with the local sage, Nyan uncovers her magic potential, some quests for artefacts and a good old fashioned RPG-like adventure yarn.
But the adventuring is only part of the Kitaria Fables experience (developed by Twin Hearts and published by PQube) as she’ll be managing a farm, completing side quests, mixing with the locals and developing her bartering skills, selling off her produce, loot from her battles and then crafting new gear.
Have Your Cake And Plant It
Kitaria Fables is a bit of a mash-up of games like the original Zelda series and Stardew Valley, but it only scratches the surface with both. Combat is simplistic of melee, ranged and eventual magic (or real-time), but it’s surprisingly satisfying. Those looking for depth might feel a little disappointed.
However, the counter technique is brilliant. Each time an enemy will attack, their proposed attack path will flash up, and you can easily roll out of harm’s way. It’s advantageous and made light work of bosses compared to other games, but it can get a trifle difficult when there are more enemies on screen as you’re effectively rolling into their path.
Unlike the action RPG elements of its peers, Kitaria Fables lacks an XP system, so when you farm, it’s for a shopping list of components to craft gear at the local blacksmiths. Treasure chests are limited, and once open, they don’t respawn. To improve your chances, you’ll need to farm enemies for ‘ingredients’ and squirrel away enough Paw Pennies to afford the new gear.
Other than changing your face, there’s no customisation here – for Nyanza or her farming base, Thunderbunn Farm. Not a game-changer for most, but it would have been an excellent option to have.
This might go against the grain for some, as the farming is too basic and doesn’t have the same depth as Story of Seasons or even that Doraemon game. But its simplicity also works in its favour as Kitaria Fables is quite a big game, and being far too occupied with the intricacies of one mechanic may be a bit fruitless.
Another highlight is the local co-op. In the Kitaria FablesPS5 version I played, it didn’t appear to be a drop-in option. Still, pending I saved the game, exited out and specifically selected co-op, I could rope in another player either from my last entry or as a new game. Due to the simplicity of combat and the farming, it didn’t take much explaining to the other person how to play and was subsequently fun.
First impressions weren’t amazing as it didn’t feel like a PS5 title to look at. That said, the colours pop, and it didn’t take long to settle into this enchanting world full of cute lil’ animals. The music and sound effects are quite the standouts, and the menu systems and hotkeys, while initially a bit confusing, were well designed. As long as you access them in a safe area.
Paws For Thought
Hotkeys for potions and consumables are generous and pending you have enough gear at your disposal, you needn’t access your inventory. However… you end up carrying quite a bit and may have various consumables that can’t be assigned. If you paws (ahem) to look at your gear and there’s an enemy about, they will attack you, which was a nightmare.
Equally, the exploration was a bit underwhelming as you’d have to pass a blue dotted line to a new screen with hardly anything to pick up as the loot comes from combat. The amount of backtracking here, irrespective of the fast travel option, can be irksome. It’s manageable, but this back and forth pacing might chip away at your patience levels.
But generally speaking, Kitaria Fables is a pleasant experience. It contradicts itself, in a good way, as it comes across as a lite version of the bigger games like the aforementioned Zelda and Stardew, but it’s not a 5-minute game. There’s a lot to do, and making enough money and collecting the right kind of ingredients for your loot will keep you out of mischief.
Kitaria Fables is an interesting one. If you want a game that will keep you busy but without being overstretched with learning the lore, mechanics and the economics of agriculture, it’s certainly worth a look. Besides the gorgeous visuals and uplifting orchestral pieces, the stand out here was the co-op play, as exploring in solo can get a little arduous. But in short, it’s a decent-sized adventure and family-friendly.