Kitaria Fables | Review | Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Twin Hearts
  • Publisher: PQube
  • Release Date: 02/09/2021
  • Price: £19.99 / $19.99
  • Review code provided by PQube
  • Version reviewed: 1.0.2

Introducing: Kitaria Fables Review

Kitaria Fables is an action adventure with RPG, farming and crafting elements. It had been teased quite long ago and I have to admit that I was really anxious to give it a spin, because it just looked so incredibly cute with its anthropomorphic animal cast, colourful artstyle and teased laid back gameplay.

The game starts with you, Nyanza von Whiskers, and your trusty friend, Macaron, arriving at the small town of Paw Village. On your way there you rescue one of their citizens out of the hands of monsters, which totally is the reason why the Empire sent you here in the first place. You take up residence at your old relative’s farm, inheriting not only the place, but also a set of farming tools to get you started. There, that’s it. Now start farming and exploring to fight the Calamity that is threatening your world. Your adventure starts immediately!

The Grind Is Real

There is a lot to in Canoidera and it’s all interconnected. You will need to collect materials by either picking up natural resources like stones, coal or logs or by amassing drops from defeated monsters. Defeat monsters by using either weapons, both swords and bows are available, or magic. To upgrade your weapons you need to have the right materials and a sizeable amount of money: Paw Pennies. The same is true for armour, of course. You need to turn certain monster drops into fire, water, wind, or earth spheres and add some more monster materials to learn new spells. Your opponents hit hard, so you need to replenish your health by eating food. That’s where farming comes in. But farming also serves another purpose, namely getting Pennies into your paws. Kitaria Fables makes you grind monsters a lot, because their drops are few and you need a lot of them to get good gear. You’re also constantly farming, because it’s one of the few ways to earn much needed dosh. Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this setup.

Let me first note that fighting monsters itself is very satisfying. The different classes have very obvious tells of how and where they are going to attack you, basically a red carpet, and make those attacks easy to dodge unless you are playing the game blindfolded. The skillful flow between attacking and dodging is great. On the other hand, your inventory at the beginning is rather small forcing you to either drop materials to pick up others or leave them behind when your inventory is full. Of course, inventory upgrades are available at a cost. You can get them from a shady character that only appears at certain places at night, and his prices are ridiculous. The first upgrade will set you back 3,000 Paw Pennies, the second one a whopping 10,000! Both upgrades will each add one more row of available space to your inventory. Not exactly bang for your bucks.

You might wish to remedy your poverty by growing foodstuffs on your farm. Good idea, but be prepared for hard work and little money. You have to buy the seeds, plant and water them daily till you can harvest them. Unsettlingly, your profit margin for selling raw produce is rather small in the end. But hey, why not turn the produce into hearty dishes and sell those? Theoretically, this is a great business plan. Practically, in Kitaria Fables, its execution is flawed. Let me give you an example. Let’s grow wheat in preparation for an apple pie. So you pay for seeds and grow them. Then you take the wheat to the village and get it ground into flour for a fee. After this you carry the flour and some apples to another villager to have them baked into an apple pie. Here, a second fee is to be paid. Why this roundabout and costly way?

Ok, perhaps you can use couch co-op to lessen the grind? Well, long story short, not really. See, while you have a pawtner to help you, you have to outfit him or her before he or she becomes useful. That means that you at least have to spend money and materials on a sword or bow for your comrade. Strangely, the spells you have unlocked are immediately accessible for your helper without a further charge. That takes care of fighting monsters. To make farming a breeze, though, you want a second set of farming tools: hoe, sickle, axe, and pickaxe which will set you back a meagre 1000 Pennies each payable to the shady night-time itinerant merchant already mentioned above.
It’s either this or a constant swapping of tools via the item chest, because you can’t pass items between characters directly. Oh, and switching tools, e.g. from hoe to watering can, has to be done by opening your inventory, switching tools and closing the inventory again. If there only was a quicker and more comfortable way of doing that!

I have to admit that tackling monsters in a team is delightful. If you tread carefully, even strong monsters can be brought down fairly snuggly, especially considering that you can quickly retreat in case your pawtner goes down and wait till he or she gets back up. You won’t get send home unless both of you are defeated in a battle.

Cuteness Overload

If you have a penchant for cuteness, Kitaria Fables is right up your alley. The characters are cute anthropomorphic animals, the monsters, in all their grimness, have an underlying cuteness and the open world is a blend of lively colours.
Music and sound effects hit the same spot with their tunes, so that the package is a good one. It’s a good looking and sounding game with a pretty stark contrast to the reality of constant grinding.

Tiny does it!

When I had my first look into the options of Kitaria Fables, I was happy to see that you could set the size of the UI-elements in three steps, the largest one being the default. After playing for some minutes I had to find out that this does not extend to some of the texts encountered in the inventory or in the shops. These are tiny at times. What’s even worse is that the number showing how many of a given item are in your possession is even smaller. Me and my pawtner had to get up from the couch and walk over to the TV set more than once to make it out. Understandable for an old sod wearing glasses like me, but completely ridiculous for my nine-year-old pawtner with perfect eye-sight.

Conclusion

Kitaria Fables combines adventuring with farming and crafting. While the different parts are fun on their own, the way they have been intertwined sets you up for frustration. There is no reason for you to grow something on your farm and then have it processed by others for a fee. Unless the reason is to make sure that you don’t earn too much money too quickly.

PROS

  • Satisfying combat and farming
  • Cute artstyle
  • Nice and fluffy story
  • Couch co-op

CONS

  • Cumbersome tool change for farming
  • No quick change, but only manual switch via the inventory
  • Excessive grind for materials and money
  • Ridiculous upgrade costs resulting in even more grind

Verdict
Kitaria Fables is a wonderfully cute game marred by some bad design choices.