It’s a video game tale as old as time, or at least since Harvest Moon rolled out onto the SNES back in the late 90’s. An estranged grandpa or uncle dies and you, the young up-and-comer, are tasked with taking it over and restoring it to its once great splendor. Along the way you learn there is more to farming than just growing vegetables, and that it’s the relationships you cultivate that will really give you that fulfilled life you’ve always been longing for… or some other kinda mushy nonsense.
That old book has been read and reread many times by farming sim fans alike and while Kitaria Fables by Twin Hearts certainly takes a few pages from that book, it aims to rewrite all the rest. With a heavy dose of adventure added into the mix along with the most adorable cast of characters this side of the game console, this is a game that promises nothing short of a wholesome good time. However, was my time with Kitaria Fables the purrfect combination of fun and cute, or did this furry fusion leave me with a sourpuss?
Well, I’ve played a venerable wealth of farming sims before, plenty of adventure games, and a handful of cat themed games. So, when I saw the initial announcement for Kitaria Fables a while ago, I knew without question that this was going to be a game I needed to get my hands on.
A whole cute animal cast paired with an action adventure/farming game honestly seemed like a combination that couldn’t fail and with each new trailer and screenshot released my excitement only grew.
The artwork for this game is so charming and it really brought me back to my early days with the Gamecube or DS Harvest Moon games. It didn’t take long to see that just like those older games, the farming mechanics were a little slow and clunky. Nonetheless, like any good game of this genre there was plenty of room to upgrade along the way for a better experience. Unfortunately while that was somewhat true, it turns out that even with tool and speed stat upgrades available, farming for profit is a huge waste of time and resources, at least in my experience. I discovered that since the seeds are pretty expensive, and you rarely get them for free, that you only make about 20% of your money back if you do decide to sell your crops. So, crop growing took a backseat fairly quickly, which is unfortunate for something that was meant to be a main mechanic of the game.
As for the adventuring parts, that’s really where Kitaria Fables shined the brightest… up to a point anyway, but we’ll get into that momentarily. Traversing the various lands of Canoidera and unraveling the sordid tale surrounding the Empire, magic users, and the ongoing calamity was straightforward, simple and pretty darn fun. Sure you needed to grind endlessly to get materials for upgraded weapons and armor, but the payoff was always worth it. Your equipment scales in leaps and bounds so you are definitely rewarded for all your hard work. There is a decent amount of quests to undertake as well, but not an overwhelming number. You might have two or three side missions going at one time with a story one peppered in there from time to time, but nothing was terribly challenging to complete. You just need to grow some veggies, fight a boss, or pass information from one NPC to another.
Hoo boy, here’s where it’s gonna get dicey. I was willing to brush off the unholy amount of grinding, the disappointing farming experience, the janky targeting system, and the fact that you can buy almost nothing with just coins – all minor gripes in the long run. What I take a real issue with however, is getting about three quarters through a smooth running game only to hit a major wall. I finished up my story quest and all the little sides I had going and then… nothing. There was nothing to be found anywhere. None of the NPC’s had any more prompts for quests, the various places that were obviously locked dungeons didn’t open, I explored the whole map top to bottom for many in-game days and…nothing. There was clearly still plenty to do so what gives? What was I missing?
The game wasn’t even out yet so I had no one to turn to. Still determined to see it through, I kept searching the game and scouring the internet to see if anyone mentioned the same gripe and eventually – jackpot! It turns out that certain characters will only have a quest prompt during a certain time of day. Not just during the night or day either, but at strange hours!!! I don’t know if the side quest I found triggered the rest, or if I just got lucky twice, but hot damn…that ain’t right! I could have easily never encountered that quest! Not cool at all!
I wanted so badly to love this game and write a glowing, cat pun filled review, but in its current state I can’t fully give my recommendation. Hopefully there will be a patch released that addresses, at the very least, the terrible quest issue. In the meantime however, it breaks my heart to find that Kitaria Fables is nothing but an adorable-coated disappointment. Obtuse quest delivery aside, the pacing is pretty off on the whole and although up to a point the game was still “ok”, encountering something like this that could potentially force someone to leave the game frustrated and unfinished is unacceptable. I’ll certainly amend my review should something change, but for now I’m sorry to say that you might want to wait on picking this one up.
If you’re interested in checking out Kitaria Fables for yourself, it’ll be available September 2nd on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation and Xbox. For more information you can also visit the Kataria Fables Official Website.