Little Red Riding Hood whips out a machete to defend Granny’s house, but a woodcutter beats her to the ravenous wolves. Jack (of ‘and the Beanstalk’ fame) shoves his hand up a chicken’s… up a chicken, and pulls out a golden egg. A villager plays a harp – slung around his neck like a bass guitar – and shatters Snow White’s glass coffin with the power of rock. And then the naked Emperor struts out onto a balcony and villagers flee at the sight of his uncommonly large areola.
And that’s it. That’s all the story you’re getting. Four character introductions, a bit of blood and you’re done before breakfast. Off you go into a fairytale land the Grimm brothers never even dreamed of to murder gingerbread men and ravage the locals. There’s a sort of guardian who periodically shows up to dump some information on you, but he looked like someone I wouldn’t want to get involved with.
The camera is a recurring sub-boss in itself. It zips and zooms over the lush scenery, but try to take a step onto the greens and you’ll end up in the depths of syrup fucking lake. And if it’s not the lake, it’s the cliffs – Red moves like someone replaced her feet with warm butter and they’ll slide you right off into Candy Canyon. You know a game is special when the main challenge is walking in a straight line.
Combat is limited to thumping and slashing enemies with an assortment of ‘wacky’ items: fish, trident, cleaver, ham joint; you name it, you can find it – regardless of relevance or correlation to the level. Each item has a star rating which determines its star rating1 and comes with one of two sound effects – ‘metallic’ or ‘not metallic’. The actual fighting is so thoughtless and half-arsed, that after an hour I started just caressing the right analogue stick whilst browsing Twitter and came back to a floor full of severed limbs.
Fairytale Fights is aiming for ‘Pixar-style Animated Super-Violence’, but what it pulls off is more ‘Aardman Reject’. It’s like someone made the characters out of dough, threw together the environment with whatever was left in the bowl, and didn’t bother to bake it. The blade-wielding Snow White looks more like a 9-year-old with clay and serious emotional problems went wild than the Disney-esque badass the designers clearly intended. The rest of the cast are no better – Red channels anthropomorphised playdough in her best light – but if you’ve got a style, however unfortunate, run with it. When Pinocchio popped up as a spinning wooden egg with a nose that doesn’t grow, I didn’t know whether to be disappointed or relieved. Sure, it means they took a break from perverting my childhood, but unless Gepetto is moonlighting as Hasbro’s creative director, Pinocchio should not be a fucking Weeble.
Of course, they went right back to it mere minutes later, after I struck the final blow. As an 8-year-old, the bedtime stories of Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and other classics sent me to sleep. Now they keep me from it. No longer do I associate the tale of Hansel and Gretel with the soothing, animated words of my Mother’s voice, no, now I associate it with a siamese, psychopathic, acid-spitting thing trying to force me inside of an industrial furnace. I may be able to forgive it from a game of better quality, but when this narrative cesspit desecrates its betters, that’s a no-go.
The main problem with Fairytale Fights is that it is amazingly boring. Nothing happens. Between the multiple controller-massages of a forty-minute chapter, nothing happens. All that’s between Candy Land, Candy Castle, and Candy Dungeon is pockets of costumed cookie dough and a few spinning obstacles which might make me look up from Facebook. But from start to finish, nothing sodding happens. No progression in narrative – since there isn’t one – no interesting cutscenes, nothing. Just a straight path with some bridges. Adding insult to injury, it all culminates in one tedious boss fight that’ll have you cuddling your Hans Christian Anderson anthology for comfort.
The one redeeming part of this whole experience? Getting to see this thing:
This thing was cute.
1 The manual claims that the stars are representative of a weapon’s damage. They’re not. The stars are representative of the amount of stars a weapon has.
Reject Reviews updates every Thursday. You can read previous instalments here.