Various virtual buttons that serve as Fabled Lands‘ interface threaten to be a tad on the small side judging from screenshots alone, but thankfully Megara Entertainment put a ton of effort into ensuring reliability. The ability to slide and pinch-zoom a world map at the player’s disposal is especially welcome, and indeed necessary for effective navigation. The game has a quirky way of stuffing lots of text into display windows and decreasing the font size to fit it all in, but the prose can be expanded to fill the entire screen with a simple tap in most cases. One thing that feels lacking in Fabled Lands’ interface is the absence of an ability to re-read sections of the current story segment; the player progresses by tapping on the narration display box, so slip-ups result in frustrating skips from time to time.
Its aesthetic presentation alone proves that Fabled Lands has been made a superior experience for its transition from gamebook to videogame. The hundreds of situations the player can walk into while adventuring in Sokara are accompanied by just as many attractive art stills; like the text, these can be expanded to fill the screen by tapping on them as the story progresses. Its suitably medieval score also goes a long way toward creating an atmosphere that sucks the player right into the game’s world.
iFanzine Verdict: Fabled Lands easily demonstrates the viability of visual novel-style games with its combination of excellently penned narrative and ongoing resource management challenge. While its appeal suffers a bit for the automated nature of what should be its most exciting moments – something it inherits from its genesis as a gamebook after all – its impressive ability to balance nonlinearity with a compelling sense of high adventure should carry the day with RPG fans on the lookout for something that feels truly fresh.
Arm your Twitter and Facebook accounts and get ready to fire, because Megara Entertainment would like to give away not one, not two, but twenty copies of the game for free! Ten copies are for the iPhone/iPod Touch version reviewed here and an additional ten are for the iPad-only HD version (not that Fabled Lands‘ art stills look shabby at all on the iPhone 4’s Retina Display, mind you!).
Here’s what to do:
A.) Make sure you’re following iFanzine on Twitter
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C.) Let us know you’ve done so in the comments section below! As usual the contest will run approximately one week, so winners will be announced Friday, March 18.