It’s Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Pinocchio as you’ve never seen them before: covered in blood and other bodily gore. Fairytale Fights takes a glut of familiar characters from your childhood, from Jack (of beanstalk fame) to the naked emperor (minus his new clothes), and puts them in a 3D platformer that tries its best to be witty, irreverent and tongue-in-cheek. Unfortunately, for the most part it fails miserably.
Sure, there’s something unhealthily gratifying about carving gingerbread men down to their basic ingredients with a chainsaw or slicing conjoined twins Hansel and Gretel into salami with a broken candy stick, but once you get over this twisted pleasure, which takes all of five minutes, there’s not enough else to recommend this game.
Some of the weapons are quite innovative, from the lawbreaker candy gun to a dried-out swordfish, but most of the time you’ll find yourself searching for a good old-fashioned lumberjack axe or a broadsword. Some of the villains, too, are pretty well rendered, from the giant beaver king to the Pied Piper, who is seated at a giant, fire-breathing pipe organ, while the settings (candy castles, dangerous forests, medieval race tracks) are suitably ridiculous. It’s the gameplay which really lets it down.
The platforming elements are frustratingly badly designed, whereby it’s often almost impossible to negotiate combination jumps such is the lack of basic control, the exploration is kept to a minimum thanks to the game’s ultra-linear design (like an updated Ghosts -n’ Goblins) and the combat itself, whereby you use the right thumbstick to perform all manner of slashes, slices and thrusts, gets very old very quickly. And the boss fights have to be amongst the most unsatisfying ever created. Put simply, Fairytale Fights is a decent idea that wasn’t developed to anything near its potential.