Fairyland Story (Free) by LI WEN is an endless runner that is a bit different than other ones that you may have played in the past. If you liked titles like Hyperburner, Infinite Skater, and Kayos, then you may like what Fairyland Story has to offer.
These days, I’m feeling pressure from stress, and I always turn to video games or other hobbies to relax and take my mind off of things for a while. I have plenty of games on my iPhone, but my favorite genre to turn to in times of stress are relaxing games, such as puzzles or zen-like escapes. And though infinite runners were a classic genre that got a bit out of hand and worn out in recent years on the App Store, sometimes they can still be good for quick play sessions and other moments when you just want to chill out for a bit. Honestly, I haven’t had the desire to play an infinite runner in a long time, but Fairyland Story looked rather interesting with the unique design, so I had to check it out.
Visually speaking, Fairyland Story is rather beautiful with its distinctive art style, which represents looking through a kaleidoscope. The game carries a somewhat flat aesthetic that is layered, so it almost looks like paper cutouts that unfold and unravel as you go. If you’re a fan of symmetrical geometric shapes, then Fairyland Story has you covered, because all of the designs are symmetrical in some way. The color palette ranges from soft pastels to bolder and more vibrant hues to muted earthy tones, and it’s all dependent on what level you manage to reach. The various objects and obstacles that you come across fit the fairyland theme rather well, and animations are pretty smooth and fluid for the most part. I’m not sure if it’s because of my iPhone 7’s RAM issue, but sometimes the game did get a bit choppy in terms of frame rate. The game has a whimsical and atmospheric soundtrack that is delightful to listen to, and definitely helps calm you down after a stressful day. To top things off, the sound effects are bubbly and charming, making the entire experience pleasant.
While Fairyland Story is an infinite runner at heart, it still has chapters and levels like you’d expect from puzzle games, and there is a a lightweight story behind everything. You discover a young girl who is sick from an illness and has never experienced the outside world. But then one day, she is whisked away by a fairy who heard her wishes and takes her on a grand fairyland adventure through a magical world. At the moment, Fairyland Story has seven chapters with a total of over 50 levels spread out across them. Each level sports its own special colors, looks, and obstacles, but it’s always going to be a magical experience. The goal is to fly through this dreamland and get as far as you can. Once you reach the end of a level, you move on to the next area, but if you want to continue from the beginning of a further chapter, you’ll have to pay up with stars. It’s easy to recover stars though, as you’ll need them while playing to keep your momentum going.
The controls in Fairyland Story are simple and intuitive, though you may need to adjust the sensitivity for the best responsiveness. As the young girl is basically flying through a tunnel of geometric shapes and fairy tale objects, you must direct her flight. To do this, all you have to do is drag your finger or thumb around on the screen, and she will move in that direction. It’s easy to learn but hard to master, and since the game just requires one finger or thumb, it is great for playing while you’re waiting around with just one free hand. As I mentioned, the default sensitivity felt a bit weak, so I had to increase it for better fluidity in terms of movement.
There will be plenty of stars floating about, and you want to make sure you collect them — not only are they used for your score, but you need them to keep your momentum, and if you get a bunch of stars in a short amount of time, you reach maximum speed. If you stop getting stars, you’ll start to slow down, as indicated by the gauge at the bottom of the screen. If the bar is empty, you’ll begin to drift backwards — use this opportunity to grab any missed stars to continue, otherwise the run ends. There are also power-up items that you can collect, which can give you a spare life or take it away (red is good, black is bad). The game ends when you hit an obstacle or run out of momentum. You can choose to continue by watching a video ad or paying stars, though the latter can be rather costly. The stars can also be used in the shop to unlock more items and upgrade them for more potent effects.
Since Fairyland Story is a free game, there are ads that show up rather frequently, which I found to be annoying. If the ads bother you, there is an in-app purchase for removing all ads, as well as other IAPs for unlocking all characters and getting more stars.
Despite the constant overload of ads and high cost of continuing or starting from a certain checkpoint level, I find Fairyland Story to be a decent enough time waster. The graphics are nicely done and the music is relaxing. Controls work best once the sensitivity is maxed out, and the gameplay is a bit different from your typical infinite runner fare. I did think that the abundance of ads was a bit annoying, so maybe the developers can consider lightening up that load a bit? I also think that it should be a one-time cost to unlock the chapter checkpoints so that you aren’t paying it over and over again.
If you are looking for an infinite runner with a different spin on things, then I recommend giving Fairyland Story a look. Fairyland Story is available as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for free. There is also an iMessage sticker pack available. The game does have in-app purchases.