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

Very fun tactical rpg. Despite some reviews I read about the game online, this game does not have a hard time limit to complete and missions do not disappear if left for later. There's one event that's timed in regards to unlocking a character but it's very clearly displayed as such.
If you're going for a completionist run, try not to miss any chests in story missions. While there are ways to grab certain spells from enemy leaders, not all spells can be obtained that way. So take a good look of the whole map before completing it.
I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys tactics games.

Review from Steam

Arguably the best Tactics game I've played! honestly a must-play for any FF Tactics fan. Beautiful pixel art, the story and music are serviceable, but the gameplay is the star of the show 👍 A lot of simple mechanics that mesh together so well and lead to fun and engaging strategy. Was really addicting and I even had to replay it a second time right after I was done to try and unlock the extra characters and try new combinations. Very challenging bosses too!

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

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

Don't let the awkward UI dissuade you, this is a fantastic game. Tactics fans might not like the lack of classes and jobs and whatnot, but here simplicity breads creativity. There isn't a way of overleveling an OP party combination and rolling with it through the whole game.
I love how the calendar influences each battle. At the start of the game, your choice of birth day determines which summons and spells you'll get first. Also, every day of the (in-game) week favors one elemental type, meaning that you can choose the best day to have an advantage on missions. This system also encourages party switch ups, since no characters (except for the protagonist) have access to all 7 elements.
The story is pretty nice. Lacks a bit on the writting part, but it's quite unique. Almost have a sort of Mass Effect feature where bringing different party members to missions changes the dialogue. Some of these occurences are even tied to party member's unlock and best ending scenarios. The soundtrack is amazing, albeit not lenghty enough.
On the bad side of things, not much to complain. They should increase the UI resolution and fix how the list of character traits breaks once you stack too many effects in the planning phase, before battles. Some of these effects don't have an explanation to be found anywhere but the online forums.

Review from Steam

For those with a shorter attention span, I'll put the important stuff first. Fae Tactics is one of the greatest turn-based tactical RPGs out there. What you have to look forward to:
Amazing mechanical design. It's easy to learn and plays very fast, yet contains a lot of strategic depth.
Writing on par with a quality young adult fantasy novel. It has sensible dialogue, an engaging cast, and a satisfying ending.
Great art and animation. The portrait art's style is fresh and the sprites are beautiful.
Solid musical score and sound effect design. It feels very frontier western meets urban fantasy, which fits the setting nicely.
I'm a huge tactical gamer, having been hooked on the genre from my young teens in the late 90s and playing through a wide variety of classic and modern titles alike. I've played this game twice through, once playing blindly on Normal difficulty back before the V1.009 update, and a second time on Hard difficulty at the current version of V1.010. Interestingly, my second time playing the game was noticeably easier than my first play, despite playing on the higher difficulty. This is partially due to just having more experience with the game, but also because of how well the game was rebalanced in the V1.009 update. There are still some summonable fae that are much more broadly useful than others, but the number of viable options for every strategy is much more robust now. The new gemstone equips are also incredibly influential, offering ways to tweak movement types, stats, or simply start a battle with one of a number of rare buffs. It definitely left me feeling like a kid in a candy shop with how many effective options I had at my disposal by the end.
The elegance in design of the game overall can't really be overstated either. You can only ever do three things in a battle: target an enemy to attack, target an ally to buff, or end your turn without doing either to self buff. The amount of variables to how those three things change from one unit to another is beautifully set up, and the progression of complexity is a very easy curve that spans the entire length of the game, with the single exception of the gemstone questline (which has a level of complexity to the enemies that exceeds that of the final boss). I've never seen another turn-based tactics game play so quick and punchy, yet still require so much strategy to both the preparation and execution of a battle. Really, hat's off to the developers.
Now to the criticisms, which are pretty sparse to begin with. Originally, I remember having issues with certain UI elements not having any explanation or tooltip, but that is pleasantly no longer an issue in the current version. The other minor gripe is with how late some of the cast's final weapon quests pop up. Some characters have their full kit available by the halfway point of the game, but others are so late that you'll have access to the "point of no return" final story sequence before the character's final story quest is even able to populate. It leads to some cast members feeling like they have much more diversity than others, at least in the initial play. It's worth noting that New Game+ opens the game with all prior equipment available from the start, including weaponry, scrolls, and gems.
More notably, there's no indication at all in the game that many character questline events (needed to unlock new weapons) require you to get kills and/or utilize their Ultra up to some hidden requirement. This only really becomes an issue if you choose not to use a character outside of their mandatory quests, though. The requirements generally seem to be rather lenient, as I managed to get all but two characters' full weapon sets blindly on my first run. Now that all of the cast is more balanced in effectiveness, I found myself regularly swapping between all cast members on my Hard run, and every character quest popped up without any grinding as a result. There's also no indication of a potential romance between two characters (a requirement for their "A" endings and one achievement), unless you just happen to have the first character in your active party during the second character's introduction battle. Considering that you can easily recruit the latter before the former, it's quite easy to completely miss and even permanently lock yourself out of those particular endings and achievement.
All in all, these criticisms easily pale in comparison to the mountain of praise I have for this game. Truly, I can't recommend the game enough, especially to veterans and fans of the genre. So please, treat yourself. I insist. You deserve it.

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.

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