The last time I stayed home from work sick – coincidentally, LAST december – I wound up watching 37 episodes of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” in a three-day marathon session. While this didn’t do anything for my masculine cred, as it were, it was a pretty good use of some sick time.
This time, I spent the better part of the day playing through Fairy Bloom Freesia.
That isn’t quite accurate. Truth be told, I played through the story mode of Fairy Bloom Freesia over the course of a couple of hours on Saturday, when I was feeling 100% well. There wasn’t an awful lot TO the story mode – it has 25 stages, every fifth stage features a boss fight and the story ends when you’re out of bosses. The last boss is, I think, a three stage boss technically, but even so it’s a game that doesn’t overstay its welcome.
The problem is, once I was done with it, I kept looking through my Steam Library trying to find something else to play and I kept realizing that what I wanted to play was more Fairy Bloom Freesia, so what I did TODAY was go back and play through the 99-level “Guardian Mode” game that unlocked after I’d finished the story mode. That took a little over 8 hours, bringing me to 10 hours played and not feeling like a single minute had been wasted.
That’s pretty good for an eight dollar game.
The guardian mode reuses all of the assets from the story mode, including all of the bosses at least a couple of times over. It finishes with a Super Secret Boss that probably would have been a shock if they hadn’t put this Steam achievement in:
…but I digress…
I am given to understand that Fairy Bloom Freesia is a rather blatant clone of “Super Smash Brothers”, which I can’t particularly confirm or deny. I played the Wii Smash Brothers for a couple of hours a few years back, but I can’t remember a single thing about it. It may have been that it needed more fairies instead of Mario and Friends.
At any rate, every level is a fairly small arena, rather taller than it is wide. Enemies – and there are only four types of basic enemies – drop in from the top, and you have to clear them all to get the next set of enemies. Every few levels, the music and background change.
Wait, I’ve just described Tetris.
UNLIKE Tetris, then, Fairy Bloom Freesia has you bouncing around the multi-level arenas like a, well, like a small and terribly violent fairy with a healthy disregard for the less convenient laws of physics and a Divine Mission to keep her forest safe, no matter how many teeth she has to kick in in in the process.
As you beat things up, you earn mana points that can be spent to acquire and upgrade skills. You can only equip a few skills at a time out of quite a long list, so there are in theory quite a few options for customization. In practice, however, you’re likely to find a few skills that work for you and just hang on to them. For my own part, I found that improved block + health regen + homing missile attacks meant that I could breeze through most parts of the game.
Periodically, the “beat everything up to proceed” missions are interrupted by ones in which you have to defend rather fragile structures while simultaneously beating everything up. These are probably the trickiest bits of the game, and could be QUITE frustrating if it weren’t for a rather pleasant design decision – once you’ve failed one of these “protect mission” levels a couple of times, the “protect” aspect gets tossed in the nearest waste bin and you’re back to just insert Foot A into Face B to continue.
It DOES get a little repetitive, but the enjoyment of the game – for me, anyway – came out of getting better at controlling Freesia and timing blocks and learning how to chain one attack into the next to rack up bigger and bigger combos and generally feel like, well…
Seriously, just go play it.