Kitaria Fables (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Nayu 07.10.2023

Review for Kitaria Fables on Nintendo Switch

Many will argue that cats are the perfect animal, so the developers at Twin Heart along with PQube have made cat lovers' dreams come true by making the protagonist of Kitaria Fables feline. There is much more to the magical Nintendo Switch adventure than simply being a cat; there are citizens who need help with both simple and complex tasks, a farm to nurture, dungeons to bravely traverse and an intriguing mystery to solve in the world Paw Village, where all creatures live in relative harmony compared to the lands outside the settlement. Monsters have returned in hoards which must be stopped to bring back peace.

Unusually the story does not begin at character creation, the pre-named protagonist is a grey kitty but thankfully changing one's appearance is merely a matter of going to the mirror in the farmhouse. There are seven colour variants in the standard version of the game, the range includes a pure white cat to a striped tabby, which are further expanded upon with the DLC, some of which is actually free. The protagonist's companion Macaron whose red and pink, blobby body looks a bit like a marshmallow with flexible candy cane arms and an elf hat takes charge, leading the way through the opening tutorial. After saving a young one, the duo is led to the ancestral farm. Now Kitaria Fables is more than farming game. Cultivating crops is essential to gain items that can be made into food and sold for a profit or use in battle as items, but is not the main portion of the game. Outside of the story telling, the bulk of gameplay is fighting.

Enemies are visible on the screen in every area, and can uses an active battle system so several enemies can and do surround the player, which can be overwhelming and fatal if both weapons and armour are not upgraded far enough to match the enemy level. Accidentally using just the base level armour for over half the game is possible. This may be why the general difficulty level of enemies seemed exceptionally hard and why it explains upgrading the weapon from the start. There is both a choice of weapon and a choice of armour: more than one can kept in the inventory at a time but only one type can be equipped. The sword is generally more powerful than the bow, but for those who struggle with action RPGs the bow is the better option as it can keep enemies at bay. Armour allows the main focus to be on magical or physical defence, although both protections are offered to some degree.

Screenshot for Kitaria Fables on Nintendo Switch

In addition, there is head gear and a variety of wings which give further protection, some are more status element related, others relate to movement speed which can help with staying out of harm's way. It cannot be stressed enough how essential taking the time to collect and make weapon and armour upgrades are. Arguably the head gear and wings are not as crucial, but they can turn the tide in battle. As well as materials and coins there are trees to cut down for wood that do regrow, stones appear with just stone in them or other materials, mostly located at the entrance to and inside of mines which release various metals that require crafting into metal bars before they can be used for equipment.

Battles can be frustrating because unless healing items are equipped to the four shortcut buttons, time does not stop when the menu is opened so enemies continue attacking while a high energy food is being selected: this can end up in defeat, with all progress not saved taken away. Using magic is easy, but is restricted to picking four usable spells as each spell is assigned to one of four buttons. This system feels restrictive because with four elements there are quite a number of spells that can be learned once the correct number of orbs and other materials are gathered. Spells have both a casting time and a cooling down time before they can be recast; it can take a few battles to get the feel for just how long five seconds is during which time the enemy can still attack. Experience helps decide when and which is the best spell to use for each enemy: even boss enemies will respawn the next in-game day, other enemies respawn when existing and re-entering an area.

Screenshot for Kitaria Fables on Nintendo Switch

Once the battle technique is understood and mastered battles are fun and the improvement in utilising upgraded spells and new equipment is clearly evident. Unlike some RPGs levelling up does not involving fighting countless battles. Winning fights gains items dropped by the enemies, which are usually meant for upgrading armour and weapons, there are no experience points. In the beginning when space is limited into the inventory and there are few chests to store items sometimes it is best to sell items in the designated box by the farmhouse that is sold first thing in a new day - sadly shops will not accept items in exchange for money. The more battles that are fought the more items that are gathered. Thankfully each item once found states which type of enemy it can be acquired from, for example a bat wing is dropped by bat type enemies and sold for 10 paw pennies. The time of day has an effect of which enemies roam an area, with some changing at night to be other creatures with more useful drops. There is no penalty for staying up late in a day, sleeping restores both health and magic fully but these can also be restored using time and items.

The direction the story heads takes unexpected turns especially later in the game, with some of tale being told too hastily using illustrations and text, rather than experiencing it directly in real time which is a shame as it makes the ending feel too abrupt. Once the main story is complete it's possible to carry on and complete any unfinished side quests, and to carry on farming for farming's sake if so desired, the end credits don't signal the end of the game. Completionists can use this as an opportunity to get every single piece of equipment, most of which requires the previous level's equipment as part of the cost to construct the upgrade. Some side requests require carrying a specific item in the inventory before they are triggered, for example carrying sweets triggers a quest for creating new sweet food.

Screenshot for Kitaria Fables on Nintendo Switch

Several recipes can be seen in shops but can only be made once particular quests are completed, which can be frustrating if the trigger for the quest is not easily found. Once unlocked selling completed recipes which are made with the items and a small bit of money prove far more profitable than selling raw crops, although in the beginning selling simple crops can still create quite a revenue. Upgrading farming tools increases the area of using which is useful if the entire farm is to be used. Sadly, there are no sprinklers so unless it rains watering every crop is important for growth; there is a watering can upgrade but sprinklers would have worked better. The number of days crops take to grow is variable, which can result in a few days spent farming and going straight to bed without participating battles if a certain crop is needed for a quest. There doesn't seem to be a penalty for how much time passes before making progression in the game.

There are certain serious moments and plot revelations that are surprising, but overall, the tone of Kitaria Fables is a light one. There is much humour between the interaction of the protagonist and their companion, and other characters too. Oddly not all villages are safe. It's a part of the story that there are some enemies in a few villages which feels odd for an RPG where towns are usually a sanctuary free from enemy involvement. The enemies in villages seem less aggressive than other enemies, making it easy to slide past them. Running can become a key part of survival when wanting to travel through an area to reach another. There is a warping system but some warps are one way and it can take a little bit of time to get exactly where you need to. Thankfully every single area is pleasing to the eye, be it a waterfall with a rainbow, or deep in amine with rocks on all sides, or high on a snowy mountain with snow falling constantly.

Screenshot for Kitaria Fables on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

It is a real shame that Kitaria Fables is let down by long loading times and semi-frequent random crashes as overall the world of Canoidera with over twenty areas to explore is a charming RPG full of humour and clever story twists. There is scope for a sequel, but whether one happens for this wholesome adventure remains to be seen.

Developer

Twin Hearts

Publisher

PQube

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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