There are tons of tactics games out there, many of which to this day try to capture the magic and feel of Final Fantasy Tactics, one of the best games of the genre. Fae Tactics hit the scene in July 2020 with an overall look that hinted at it being a game to give such a task a go, but what was delivered was something completely different, and that’s what makes it great. It’s a game that proves that you can make an excellent tactics game that captures the feel of one of the greatest games in the world while delivering a completely new and fresh title that doesn’t feel like a cheap knockoff.
At its core, Fae Tactics enlists a straightforward set of mechanics throughout each battle. Every character has some sort of active Attack (Offense), Assist (Defense) ability, and Wait (Special) ability. There are no menus to choose from when it’s a character’s turn. If you click on an enemy in range, you’ll attack. If you click on an ally in range, you’ll assist. If you click on yourself, you’ll wait where you are and activate your Wait ability. Each of these abilities is different for each character and can be leveled up as you progress through the game, customizing each character differently.
As you move past the first few stages, you’ll gradually be introduced to Talismans, monsters that can be collected and deployed into battle. These units aren’t as powerful as your main units but allow you to customize your party in various ways. You also have 3 Spell Cards that charge up and can be used to heal your party, damage enemies, etc… It’s a little extra boost that can come in handy in a pinch. Of course, as you play through the game you’ll also find various environmental elements in stages to either help or hinder you.
Fae Tactics is truly unique in how it plays. Almost every action you take triggers some sort of ability that can be used, stacked, or combined with others to produce a different result. The simple act of moving a character and leaving it to wait can unleash a powerful effect that then compounds when another character attacks and sets off a combo. Positioning of characters is extremely important, as is choosing when to Attack, Assist, or Wait. Party composition also plays into this, as how your characters’ different abilities play off each other can make or break a battle. Yet, with all this to take into account Fae Tactics feels smooth, swift, and streamlined.
While Fae Tactics strips out a lot of what makes many tactics games great, it manages to keep everything you need to have a deep, well thought out set of parameters to keep things satisfying that’s playable with just a mouse cursor. While the story may not be as profound as other games in the genre, it still has its darker moments mixed in with the colorful and silly motif presented at the surface. It’s a game that anyone who loves tactics games should play, and it comes at a fraction of the cost of many other similar games.
I went into Fae Tactics hoping for another Final Fantasy Tactics and was disappointed that it didn’t really compare. What I did find, however, is that it was it stood tall and proud on its own, taking what made other tactics games so great and condensing it down to an experience that was just as rewarding. It’s the first tactics game in a while that made me really believe that I’m not looking for another FFT, and that there’s still so much room for innovation in the genre.
A copy of Fae Tactics was purchased for this review
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.
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