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Fantastic Forest

Fantastic Forest
  • Release Date: May, 2013 (Beta)
  • Publisher: Wooga
  • Developer:
  • Genre: Simulation
  • Official Site

Fantastic Forest is the latest creation from Wooga, the publisher that brought us popular titles like Pearl’s Peril, Kingsbridge and Bubble Island on Facebook. The game has merged exploration and adventure into the land-managing simulation element, all wrapped in a lighthearted myth-uncovering story.

The game takes place in a deep forest which was peaceful and prosperous but is rotten now by some sort-of mystery unknown to anybody. Your task is to help the adorable animal villagers, uncovering the lurking mystery in the woods to save their home while getting back their missing Mayor.

Fantastic Forest

The core concept in Fantastic Forest is similar to most simulation games out there. You need to plant and harvest crops and fruits, use stored materials to craft products or items, sell food in the Hippo’s market for coins and Exp, level up to unlock more playable contents, expand to gain access to the surrounding areas covered in fog, repair the found ruins and houses in new land to their former glory and functionality, and so on. From expansion and appearance of more characters to the farming and crafting features, a large part of the simulation plays just familiar. But in the midst of all the similarity, you will find some twist like a hidden gem that makes the game a little different and special.

A simulation as it is, there is not as many buildings and crops as you usually see in other titles of this genre to construct and plant. You don’t construct any buildings but only repair the damaged one when you expand to a new area; and usually you need to first excavate some building materials buries somewhere to start the construction. Greater change comes to the farming front. There is no Energy system; nor is purchasable planting plot. From a selection of crops, you need to choose to plant what can be sold in the market because there is only two deals can be made there at a time; otherwise, you will end up with temporarily useless items take up the Inventory slot, making no room for some needy materials while making a waste if simply dropping them with no gain.

Sales of crops and fruits in the market are not an efficient way but an important way of earning coins that are needed in great amount in many aspects. If you choose to buy seeds every time you grow crops, you will quickly find yourself broke because the money you earn from a deal doesn’t cover even the cost of seeds at most time. The right way to make a profit from the market is to buy your seed of each crop the first time and then drop the harvested in the inventory to grow again – one turns into two – without any cost of coins. It seems to have dragged the game pace in short term but really maintains a progressive tempo in the long run – when you need many coins to unlock new areas, you will rejoice the effort made in farming if not regret not doing so.

To complete quest is another important way to earn coins and drive on the story. Following the quest line, you will continue your labor in farming, building and other activities like fishing (in a mini-game style), interact with many of the characters from amiable squirrel to the cynical turtle, and get closer to more bits and pieces behind the mystery. There are many clips of non-interactive anime from the narrative of different characters that fuel the simple but engaging storyline with good writing. Compared to that, the quick conversation that usually leads to a quest needs more polishing to change the “lazy” impression it strikes.

When it comes to social integration, the game has done a conventional job there. It doesn’t push you to invite friends frequently and it features no more than the usual social elements like gifting, visiting and asking-friends-for-items. You can play on your own, but you will need to pay for the special items, especially required in expansion, like drift bottles, with Woobees, the in-game premium currency. You can earn some Woobees by leveling up, but if you want many of the advantages it offer you will need to purchase them with real world cash.

Fantastic Forest is solid and fun. It incorporates the established concepts of a simulation title and organizes them in a different approach to set itself apart from its many contenders. The change in game structure may not appeal to all simulation fans, but if you like the combination of the simulation essence with a little bit calculation and strategy, you will find a lot to like in this slow-paced game.

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