Games of the Year

Fae Tactics

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In Fae Tactics, follow a young magic user named Peony on her journey across a vibrant world full of mystery and danger. Summon allies, cast spells, and befriend a motley crew of characters as you dive into the growing conflicts between man and magical beings known as fae. Long ago the world of magic was separated from the natural world by Elemental Gates. One day the seal on the gates was broken, flooding the natural world with magical fae creatures once thought to be myths. The worlds merging was imperfect and much of the land was torn apart. The devastation claimed the lives of most of the population of natural and fae creatures alike. Those that survived have forged new lives in the ruins of the old worlds, but growing tension between man and fae threaten to finish what began with the opening of the gates.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

General Overview:
Fae Tactics has tons of care poured into it, but it’s certainly not for everyone. I had a great time with it, but I also don’t have a ton of experience with SPRGs. I can say that the game has a ton of fun and interesting elements, but it’s faults can’t be ignored. Oh, and for all things holy be sure to turn on 2x battle speed in the options.
Notable game mechanics:
Even by RPG standards, there’s a lot of different mechanics at play determined by RNG, especially outside of battles. Equipable items, loot drops needed for upgrades, the useable units themselves, and more are determined by what randomly happens to drop upon an enemy’s defeat. This can be somewhat mitigated via grinding for what you want, but even then, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a specific drop.
Speaking of grinding, it’s almost entirely optional here. Enemies tend to scale to your current level, making the only real purpose for grinding is farming the aforementioned drops. I was able to get through the whole game without going into a single free battle.
The enemy recruitment mechanic is another central mechanic. In any given battle, 33-50% of your units will be recruited enemies, with the other half consisting of story characters. The enemies you can recruit are based off of the ones you defeat, but there’s no guarantee that a defeated enemy will drop its recruitment card. This mechanic is fun, though it can be very easy to get comfortable with a few favorite units. The tradeoff for this mechanic is that there isn’t a lot of customizing individual units as a result. Each character (story and recruited enemy alike) is somewhat locked to a certain playstyle, especially early on in the game.
Things I liked:
The game’s difficulty is hard, but usually fair. You’ll quickly be up against enemies that have you beat in both numbers and stats. Even regular encounters can end in a loss if you’re not careful about allied unit placement and enemy weaknesses.
Like any game with RNG elements, you’ll occasionally lose a battle due to an unlucky roll of the dice. However, I always felt like such a loss could have been prevented had I done a better job of organizing my units (barring any level featuring teleporting totems). Additionally, many common pitfalls of SRPGs are thankfully absent. While there is a traditional “evasion” system, it can be mitigated by having units attack enemies from behind. Additionally, enemy reinforcements don’t attack the same turn they arrive, critical hits are based on type rather than RNG, and allied NPCs not named Marcus are surprising component. Overall, 95%+ of the game’s story levels are fun and fair to play. But fair warning; when Fae Tactics has a poorly designed level, it’s usually a REALLY poorly designed level. (Disclaimer: I played on the normal difficulty)
The branching path system is a really nice touch. If a particular mission looks daunting, you’ll often be able to go to another one and come back when you’re ready. There’s also a ton of secrets and collectibles to find, including secret missions, rare items, and even entire story characters.
The Story is fun. It’s does a good job of knowing when to keep things serious and when to be lighthearted. The plot twists aren’t blatantly obvious and there’s rarely a character that comes off as dull. Despite the “visit new area, do X, and leave for the next one” structure of the story, there’s a surprising amount of worldbuilding baked in as well.
The soundtrack is great. That’s that.
Things I disliked:
Probably my biggest gripe is that Fae Tactics will occasionally omit telling you critical information. The biggest offender is that I was never able to determine what an enemy’s “ultra” skill would do before they actually used it. There were a few other instances of this outside of this, but they weren’t super common.
The first few hours are rather rough. The game does a good job of explaining the core mechanics, but there’s so much to take in that some details can slip through the cracks. A glossary of keywords and mechanics would have been a godsend. (Though there is an easy-to-reference guide for unit weaknesses and resistances).
The graphics are fine, but nothing special. There’s a good amount of repetition in the enemies and assets, but it comes off more as a limited budget issue rather than a lack of creativity issue.
The cooking minigame gets old very quickly, but the stat upgrades it gives are significant enough that you won’t want to pass it up, meaning that you’ll end up doing it after every set of battles.
TLDR: Pick up Fae Tactics if you’re looking for something fresh with a lot of love put into it. Pass if you’re not ok with the occasional poorly design level or improperly explained mechanic.

Review from Steam

If you enjoy Final Fantasy Tactics and similar games, specially Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, it's a pretty good bet that you'll enjoy Fae Tactics as well. The unit building may seem shallow at first, doing away with the typical skills/equipment adopted in similar games in the genre, but eventually you unlock a big enough number of options for outfitting your Leaders, as well as selecting accompanying Fae to summon into battle, that the preparations screen be enjoyable by itself. You get a look at the battlefield before putting your team together, and checking on your opponents and building a counter team often feel like a puzzle.
The storyline is quite different from your FFTs and Tactics Ogres, however, moving away from grand war stages, towards fairytale inspired monsters and races. It's all pretty whimsical, much like FFTA was at times, which can be hit or miss depending on the player. The setting is interesting enough, but the plot might be a bit too open-ended for it's own good. You can progress the plot missions in pretty much any order after the first set of missions, which is cool, as taking a different route changes the order of acquisition for the steady stream of unlockable units/weapons the game throws your way, but the narrative looses a bit of cohesion, and a lot of momentum. The characters in your party are pretty cool, tho, and Peony is a pretty adorable protagonist.
My biggest gripe with the game was that the first few hours, before I had enough units or more varied weapons to make meaningful decisions, team-building choices felt very shallow, making the battles feel samey. This is definitely not the case, and different team combinations get very unique eventually, but it did make me almost drop the game.
This is a big recommendation on my part! Will definitely keep an eye on Endlessfluff Games going forward =)

Review from Steam

This game got stuck in my head since I saw the trailer, both due to the graphics and the catchy music.
I found myself recalling that music several times afterwards and months later finally gave in. After going through an entertaining story, character progression, summons, elements, talismans, gems, awesome 2D graphics and soundtrack, I thoroughly enjoyed the game.
I think a smaller number of game systems would have been enough for the game to be plently of fun and interesting battles, or a simplified element strength/weakness matrix, but nonetheless the extra complexity didn't get in the way and the having the extra collectibles was nice (although I didn't catch'em'all).

Review from Steam

I only played similar games to this called Final Fantasy Tactics on GBA and Ps1 long time ago. Fae Tactics surpass those titles on every possible level. I highly reccomend it.

Review from Steam

This game was absolutely wonderful. My only complaint is... I wish it was longer! I'm looking forward to trying to 100%, which I normally don't care for with most games. I also really enjoyed the story, which I was surprised by.
A really great way to tap into some FF Tactics nostalgia while still keeping it super fresh. I can't recommend it enough if you know you like this sort of game.

Review from Steam

A fun turn based game with lovely pixel based art. You'll enjoy figuring out how to plan and execute your team for each battle, while collecting materials you need for upgrades.

Review from Steam

pokemon + FFT

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