Fairy Fencer F: Does the extra F stand for fun?

September 22, 2014


Fairy Fencer F takes players on an emotional roller coaster, with the frequently fun and exciting sections interspersed all too regularly with incredibly cheap and frustrating moments. It boasts a plot that can at best be described as complete nonsense, while delivering that insane story with a sharp sense of humor and some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. It features a battle system that simultaneously feels deep and oversimplified, tactical and repetitive. Despite its schizophrenic tendencies, Fairy Fencer F is a worthwhile entry in the genre, and will provide more than enough hours of entertainment to justify the investment.

Fairy Fencer F alternates between conversations and dungeon crawls. Each dungeon is unlocked on the overworld map as the plot dictates, and you simply click the location, run the dungeon, defeat the boss and head back to the main town for more plot. This does get repetitive, as the dungeons are not really distinguished from one another except through a few slight changes in aesthetic, but they are quite short and the writing between them is fun enough that it keeps pulling you forward. There are a few minor incentives to revisit old locations, like collecting items or defeating a certain number of enemies for some optional fetch quests, but for the most part the focus is solely on pushing to the next new area.


A JRPG can succeed or fail based on the strength of its combat, and Fairy Fencer F offers a lot of customization and depth while not requiring it for victory. Among the many options available are gear to equip, stat-boosting furies, weapon skills, magic abilities and customizable weapon combos.

Even still, most battles can be won easily by spamming the attack button until a meter fills enough for the character to “fairize.” This melding with the character’s fairy companion boosts all stats and abilities to high levels, and makes most enemies fall extremely quickly. The amount of things the system allows the player to customize, however, does offer rewards for those willing to delve into their systems, as battles can be completed very quickly and the party can become almost invincible with the right tweaks. The fun of the system, then, comes from a willingness to exploit it rather than be confined by it, but for those that enjoy finding those game-breaking setups, there is a lot of fun to be had.

The actual mechanics and look of Fairy Fencer F are borrowed heavily from developer Compile Heart’s flagship series, Hyperdimension Neptunia. Whereas Hyperdimension Neptunia often gets judged harshly on its abundance of fanservice, Fairy Fencer F minimizes these aspects while maintaining, and even improving, the other aspects that constitute the “feel” of the game. The presentation style is nearly identical, the battle system flows in largely the same way and the writing and voice work have the same show of quality and sense of humor.


Fairy Fencer F does indeed have its moments of fanservice apparent in a lot of the writing if not the art, and there is one character in particular that feels like she is placed in the game solely to fill that quota, but these elements play a minor role in the experience as a whole.

Nobuo Uematsu composed the soundtrack to Fairy Fencer F, and while his music here does mostly live up to his pedigree, there isn’t much of it. The same battle theme, dungeon theme and town theme are heard so many times that they begin to feel like that pop song playing incessantly on the radio. As enjoyable as the songs are at first, they can’t help but get annoying.

Special mention, however, needs to be made of the song that plays every time a character “fairizes.” This obnoxious pseudo-metal track is bad right from the start, and the fact that it plays every time you execute the stat-boosting effect makes it feel like a punishment. There were numerous times when I could have ended a battle faster and taken less damage by “fairizing,” but I decided to forego the option just so I wouldn’t need to listen to this song again. The song is strikingly similar to another Nobuo Uematsu track, the boss battle theme from Blue Dragon, and it has the same effect here as it did there.


Fairy Fencer F has its flaws, and will likely be an extremely polarizing title. Fans of other games from NIS America, and Compile Heart in particular, will gravitate to this title and find a lot to enjoy. The game is also not shy about showing itself for exactly what it is. Despite not really caring about the plot and recognizing the superficial and repetitive dungeon structure, I was still excited to play more of the game each time I picked it up. Fans that skew to the very Japanese end of the JRPG spectrum shouldn’t miss this title.

Pros: Beautiful presentation, deep customization, well-written dialogue
Cons: Repetitive dungeon structure, nonsensical plot, oversimplified gameplay

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.