By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fun life simulator lets kids experiment with careers.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about achieving goals and being rewarded for dedicated work in this adventurous life-simulation game. Players experience entire careers, working hard to go from fledglings to masters of their chosen disciplines by performing tasks such as chopping down trees, mining minerals, and gathering food to cook. They'll become part of the virtual community by doing business with and helping fellow villagers, and they'll earn money to improve their character's life and position within the village. Fantasy Life is more about fantasy than life, but kids who play may come away thinking about what they want to do with their own lives and how they can become a valuable part of their own real-world communities.
Players are encouraged to consider various careers (called "Lives" in the game) and dedicate themselves to doing a good job at various tasks. Kids may come away thinking about what they might want to do with their real lives.
Positive Role Models
The game's hero -- male or female, according to preference -- works hard to complete tasks in a variety of vocations, such as cook, angler, woodcutter, and hunter. This serves the dual purpose of helping others and advancing the hero's career. The protagonist reflects how people in the real world make a living by performing jobs that help others.
Ease of Play
Relatively straightforward for most kids. Players need to exercise caution adventuring outside of friendly towns, where there are powerful creatures that can only be defeated by stronger characters.
Violence & Scariness
Some roles, including paladin and hunter, involve violence. Swords and daggers are used to strike creatures such as dragons, bees, and wolves. Fights are shown from a raised perspective. There's no blood or gore; enemies simply fall to the ground and disappear when struck.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of characters talk about "cheating" and "two-timing," suggesting that a man was unfaithful to his wife. Others discuss romance.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters occasionally drink something called barley juice and act slightly intoxicated as a result. Pictures of frothy mugs suggest it's some sort of beer-like ale.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fantasy Life is a life-simulation and fantasy-adventure game in which players take on the role of a male or female villager who embarks on a variety of careers -- such as cook, blacksmith, tailor, or miner -- learning important skills associated with each. Some careers involve mild violence; being the paladin sees players attacking monsters and animals in the wild in bloodless combat. Most careers, however, are composed primarily of chatting, foraging, and crafting as players diligently perform their virtual jobs, fulfilling a nearly endless stream of requests from their mentors and random citizens. Parents with online concerns should note that kids can play with others over the Internet but only if they've exchanged a friend code.
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What’s It About?
FANTASY LIFE puts players in the shoes of a cute little villager who embarks on a journey that spans a dozen different "Lives" -- game-speak for careers. Kids start off choosing to be an alchemist or angler or a carpenter, cook, miner, paladin, woodcutter, hunter, blacksmith, wizard, mercenary, or tailor. Then they meet their master, a veteran of the trade who teaches them the basics and provides challenges. Opt to be a cook, and you'll need to find ingredients for specific recipes, either by foraging in the country or purchasing them from vendors. If you're having a tough time tracking down ingredients, you may want to switch to another job -- angler or hunter -- that will give you the skills necessary to attain them. All the jobs link up with one another in various ways and make use of the same set of basic attributes, such as strength, focus, and dexterity, so you can continue to improve in one discipline even as you focus on another. Online cooperative play allows kids to hook up with their friends to adventure together, which can be handy for paladins and mercenaries facing tough enemies or craftspeople who want to trade for rare items.
Is It Any Good?
Fantasy Life mixes elements of multiple games -- life simulation, RPGs, and cooking, crafting, and action games -- in a grand adventure that encourages kids to forge their own paths. At the start, each new person met and location explored provides players with ideas for what they might want to do next. For example, you might find gem veins that require mining skills while hunting or realize that the ingredients you need for your next dish as a cook can only be obtained by making your way through a hostile cave that requires the skills of a hunter or paladin. This encourages kids to try new lives and earn additional skills, perfecting new mini-games and earning more "bliss" (the game's term for happiness). Along they way you'll pick up a pet or two, move to a bigger and better place that can be furnished however you like, and come to the aid of a lot of people who need help to one degree or another.
It can get a bit repetitive at times -- the vast majority of tasks falls into the category of "fetch quests" that require you to find a certain number of pine logs or hunt down a specific quantity of monster -- but the game's smart writing, interesting characters, and colorful world should go a long way toward keeping kids interested in their chosen lives. And it might just teach them something about what it's like to have a career in the process.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about careers such as the ones in Fantasy Life. Kids: Do you have any idea what you'd like to do when you grow up? Are any of the jobs in this game plausible in our world? Which did you enjoy most?
Discuss violence against animals in games. Does killing animals in games make you uncomfortable? Some games let you attack animals any way you like, while others require you to hunt them as part of your job, harvesting their skins for leather and meat for food. Is there a significant difference between these motives?
Talk about fantasy games. Not everyone likes them, with some feeling they're inaccessible for players who don't always play those kinds of games. How might Fantasy Life appeal to non-fantasy game players? Is the gameplay so accessible anyone can enjoy it?
- Platform: Nintendo 3DS
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, Social Studies: citizenship, Hobbies: collecting, cooking, fashion, pets
- Skills: Self-Direction: set objectives, work to achieve goals, working efficiently, Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork, Responsibility & Ethics: honoring the community
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release date: October 26, 2014
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Horses and Farm Animals, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol
- Last updated: August 7, 2022
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