A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fairy Tail is a turn-based fantasy role-playing game (RPG) based on the popular Fairy Tail anime TV series for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. Players control cartoon characters attempting to increase the ranking and prestige of their fighting guild by taking on tasks for people in need. These tasks often involving fighting monsters or other humans in turn-based battles. Players will select physical and magical attacks, and then watch them play out in scripted animations. There is no blood or gore, just flashes of light and smoke, but combat can feel frenzied nonetheless. Enemies disappear once defeated. The protagonists have a mix of personality traits ranging from dutiful to playful, but all of the heroes are, in the end, caring and happy to help -- though they often expect payment for their good deeds in order to help restore the glory and reputation of their guild. Parents should be aware that conversation includes moderate profanity, some discussion of drinking, and occasional references to subjects such as underwear and nudity. Several of the female characters have exaggerated, jiggling breasts further accentuated by skimpy clothes (impractical for fighting) that tend to reveal deep cleavage.
What's it about?
FAIRY TAIL begins with a massive battle against a villain named Hades that almost wipes out the heroes before warping them seven years into the future. They return home to discover that their guild -- once the strongest and most respected in the town of Magnolia -- has been reduced to a footnote in their absence. The heroes immediately make restoring the reputation of the guild their top priority. Doing so requires helping people in need, accepting combat jobs from the job board, and gradually upgrading their headquarters. Along the way, they also attend to personal matters, from reclaiming an old apartment with rent seven years past due to dealing with the loss of a parent who died while the heroes were away. Combat is turn-based, allowing players to take their time choosing what to do. Attacks have different ranges and elemental affinities, and can eventually be chained together with spectacular results -- such as destroying barriers within the environment, which opens pathways to new areas and treasures. As the game progresses, new systems and abilities are introduced as each of the main heroes levels up and grows relationships with other characters.
Is it any good?
Hopefully, you've seen the TV show -- otherwise, you'll likely feel as though you've been thrown straight into the deep end. Fairy Tail introduces more than two dozen characters in the first half-hour, and buries players waist-deep in preexisting franchise lore by making allusions to previous events and complex character histories. Players can access key story details in the game's handy encyclopedia and character guide, but that's asking a lot from anyone jumping in fresh without having watched the show. That said, if you can get past this hurdle, you'll be in for a treat. From its beautiful anime aesthetic, which basically makes you feel like you're playing a TV cartoon, to its sophisticated yet accessible character growth and combat systems (which borrow liberally from some of the very best Japanese role-playing games around, including the Persona, Fire Emblem, and Bravely Default games), Fairy Tail is clearly a cut above most TV show spin-offs.
Much of the game has clearly been designed with user experience in mind. Players will never be at a loss for what to do next, since objectives are always clearly marked on the mini-map. Once you complete a task, you'll have the option of being immediately whisked to headquarters rather than needing to waste time hoofing it back or looking for a fast travel point. And loading screens last just a few seconds, so it almost never feels like you're being pulled out of the action. The end result is a rare kind of role-playing game in which progress feels constant, fast, and satisfying. Toss in simple instructions and the ability to bump difficulty down to avoid frustration, and you have a surprisingly accessible role-playing game experience that shouldn't turn off fans new to this notoriously imposing genre. If you count yourself a fan of Fairy Tail, you're unlikely to be disappointed with this interactive interpretation.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sex, gender, and body image in games. The female characters in Fairy Tail are as strong and capable as the male ones, but their physical appearance is often marked by accentuated breasts and impractical clothing. What sort of message does this send to the boys and girls who play the game?
Everyone needs to make a living, and it's good to get paid for what you do, but are there times when we should simply do what's right without expecting payment?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Koei Tecmo
- Release date: July 31, 2020
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes
- Last updated: September 21, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.