When you install Fantastic Knight, its title is shortened to Fanta Knight on the home screen. This could conjure up images of a game featuring an armor-clad soft drink mascot, but the game that actually loads when you tap the icon isn’t quite that interesting.
Fantastic Knight is an action RPG that has one decent hook to it: It allows you to play through the same general story from two opposing perspectives. Sadly, the game’s story mostly wanders between awkward and uninspired, becoming nearly insufferable in the case of one of the two protagonists, Wenrick.
Not you, right?
Wenrick is a prince with an awful attitude, to the point that we wanted to apologize to all of the NPCs he interacted with. The alternate perspective of Erien, a rebel girl, is much easier to stomach, but that’s not to say that it’s good.
Aside from some localization goofs like typos and occasionally odd instructions (such as a quest instructing Erien to ‘find Erien’), the game’s overall presentation is fair. The graphics look decent in general, but all of the character portraits seem to be built from one bald, androgynous template. The characters appear to be clones with different hair, clothes, and make-up. It’s kind of creepy, and it’s very pronounced, as the character portraits always face the same direction.
There’s a game under all of the story and presentation, but it has very few surprises. One surprise is that you gain levels quite quickly, especially early in the game. Speeding up that part of an RPG for a mobile game isn’t a bad idea, but accidentally hitting level nine before the story properly starts deflates the excitement of playing an RPG.
You’ll also have to grind a little here and there. The side quests are standard RPG fare, and they aren’t essential to keeping yourself properly leveled.
The moment-to-moment gameplay of Fantastic Knight is fast and responsive on an iPod Touch 4G, even if it does get repetitive and button-mashy. You have one big button for attacking and interacting with objects, as well a minimap and seven smaller buttons for skills, items, and quick-saving. Include the 4-direction d-pad and status bar, and it makes for a pretty busy screen. Most of the time these elements aren’t in the way, but if you find yourself fighting an enemy in either of your screen’s lower corners, the action becomes totally obscured.
Fantastic Knight also has some microtransaction opportunities, though we can’t imagine many people being enthusiastic or impatient enough about this game to take advantage of them. There’s Game Center support by means of challenge dungeons, which are accessible by going to a special area called the Forgotten Continent. These dungeons will reward you with better item drops, as well as online leaderboard spots if you clear them fast enough.
These bonus features aren’t much better than they sound on paper, which is a pretty accurate way to describe Fantastic Knight as a whole. If you’re starved for a new action RPG on your iDevice, you probably won’t be too disappointed. Otherwise, it’s not easy to recommend.