Fanta-YAY or Fanta-NAY?
Sparkling Society’s latest city builder, Fantasy Forge, begins at Pumpkin Hill, home to a tribe of Gnomes. Or it will be, after you build it. The game opens with a wizard named George walking you through a short tutorial on how to build the Gnome kingdom. Structures, such as houses and workplaces, earn you citizens and coins. Like any builder, you build and upgrade your buildings to earn more coins, as well as expand your Gnomish kingdom. Fantasy Forge not only keeps you engaged, it also offers up a rather pretty gameworld.
Mo’ Gnomes, Mo’ Money
Experience points (in this case, crowns) are earned by placing structures, collecting coins from buildings, and are offered by your Gnomes. It’s easy to level up in the beginning, but as with most builders, it gets more challenging as you progress. Along with coins, you collect different kinds of keys; silver, gold, and platinum. Keys are gained after placing any building and can be used to unlock treasure chests and new areas. A free treasure chest is available every four hours.
One of the most important aspects of the game is keeping your citizens morale up. Beyond houses and jobs, you can build structures solely for the purpose of boosting morale like an animal shelter. Decorations like a pond and flower bed can help with this as well. If morale drops too low, your citizens will leave. However, considering the near-endless quest log telling you how to prevent that along with George providing daily challenges, it’s not an issue.
Spend, Spend, Spend
Some issues I encountered were that you only build/upgrade three structures at a time because you have three builders. Extra builders can be bought with gold, a resource also used to build ‘epic’ buildings and unlock new kingdoms. Unfortunately it’s quickly spent. Gold can be won by completing quests but are only offered in units of one or two. Spending actual money gets you gold in the double digits, the cheapest price being $4.99. A bit steep, considering there are builders offering cheaper prices from $.99 to $1.99. There isn’t a way to watch ads to earn gold beyond waiting for the free treasure chest, so the game is dependent on in-app purchases.
Fantasy Forge’s touch controls are less than perfect. Moving structures has you physically dragging them around your phone screen instead of just tapping them into place. It would be more convenient to just tap, as it’s occasionally difficult to move buildings around. Collecting coins and crowns would be much easier if there was a way to collect them all at once. Instead, you tap each building and citizen individually. The game does become idle after a point, but convenience would be helpful.
Overall, Fantasy Forge is solid entertainment. Sparkling Society has been making a name for themselves over the last few years publishing fun and engaging city builders for casual gamers, and this is no exception. The game could use some improvements, but it’s a fun way to ease your boredom.
Fantasy Forge is a cute city builder made for sim fans looking for yet another idle casual game. It’s not perfect, but you won’t want to put it down.