Sunday 4 September 2011

Fairy Well (Preview) (C64)

After years of absence, Wide Pixel Games (the development group behind the modern C64 classic Knight 'n' Grail) are back with another potentially award winning game in the form of 'Fairy Well'. A huge flick-screen collect-em-up arcade adventure, the surprising news is that it's planned for a cartridge release with RGCD as their entry in the 16KB C64 Cart Development Competition; amazingly, Mikael Tillander has managed to squeeze an epic, multi-level adventure into a tiny 16KB!
I've been playing the latest preview on real hardware all weekend, and after completing it this afternoon I have to say that it is without a doubt one of the better competition entries I've seen so far. With it's multiple game modes (via a character selection at the beginning of your quest), huge randomly generated level maps, varied enemies and classic adventure gameplay, I enjoyed every minute of this original, entertaining and very re-playable game.

In it's current form, Fairy Well is set over four levels, with the goal being to find and collect three hidden jewels on each map and thereafter proceed to the titular 'Fairy Well' to enter the next world. There are a variety of nasties to avoid or dispose of (depending on your character selection), keys to collect and treasure chests to open, as well as single-use map and shop runes scattered around the randomly generated levels.

The sheer volume of features squeezed into this tiny game is genuinely impressive, with distinctly different looking levels, a good variety of sprites and even some simple briefing screens detailing your progress. I would have been impressed if this was a 32KB release, so the fact that all of this fits in a measly 16KB is mind blowing. The only qualm I have with the WIP preview build is that it's currently a little too easy due to some balancing issues, but knowing Mikael's attention to detail I'm sure that this will be addressed for the final release at the end of November.
Unfortunately for you, the preview is not currently available to download. Instead, you'll have to make do with these exclusive in-game screen shots and a short development video for now. ;)