Fantasy Life, or Fantasy Life Link! in Japan, is an expanded and enhanced version of the original Japanese-only Fantasy Life release. The game was originally developed by Brownie Brown (which turned into 1-UP Studio between the original Fantasy Life and the Fantasy Life Link! re-release), h.a.n.d. and Level-5, the latter also published the game in Japan. Nintendo took over localization and publishing duties for the international release over a year after Fantasy Life Link released in Japan.
The Japanese version added Origin Island, a new location to experience in the post-game and online co-op, most notably. The international release splits the Origin Island expansion into paid downloadable content but keeps the online co-op functionality as part of the base-game.
A meteorite crashed onto the land of Reveria, specifically the player character's house! The celestial object not only ruined some furniture, it might also bring about dark times for the otherwise peaceful Reveria. The King asks the player character to investigate with the help of Flutter, a helpful butterfly.
Fantasy Life is what results if one decides to mix a quirky life-sim such as Animal Crossing with an action RPG. Players can pick any job, or "life," and switch between them at will. Each life essentially represents what in other games is handled by non-player characters and simply happens in the background without the player thinking much about it. There are 12 Life options to pick from.
The key feature is the ability to switch between each Life at any time and thus gain the ability to take advantage of all skills. Skills learned in one life can still be applied after switching to another so there is no need to constantly switch back and forth if one needs to partake in a specific activity. Players improve on their skills by actively using them, similar to the leveling system in the Elder Scrolls series. Making good use of the relationships between each Life and understanding the benefits of them is the core part of Fantasy Life. A Woodcutter gathers wood, a Carpenter turns it into an axe, a Miner gathers ore, a Blacksmith turns the ore into a sword, a Mercenary uses that sword to kill a monster.
Reveria is an open world that players can go on their own adventure in by picking any of the 12 different lives and experiencing different things, gaining different items in the world. Players can own and customize a house in every town they visit.
Flutter, a butterfly accompanying the player will sometimes make special requests that are rewarded with Bliss which ultimately unlocks such things as bigger inventories, pets and a music player.
In Fantasy Life (Link!), up to three players can go on adventures together either locally or online. It is, however, not possible to advance the main story during multiplayer sessions so players will have to make do with side quests and taking down strong monsters together.
With Link Mode, players can access an in-game communication tool that allows connecting with online friends playing at the same time by exchanging messages and trading items. This also lets players enable a notification system keeping their online friends apprised of their achievements in the game which can be acknowledged by the others with the "Applause" mechanic.
Fantasy Life players met via StreetPass will have their player character appear in the recipient's game as a citizen of Reveria. Befriending them will yield items. StreetPass compatibility is also affected by the DLC. Those with the Origin Island DLC can only StreetPass with others who also own it and those who don't can only StreetPass with others who don't own Origin Island.
Origin Island Expansion
This expansion is available after beating the main story. In the Japanese version, called Fantasy Life Link!, it was part of the game's re-release but in the international version, the extra content is sold as DLC. Curiously, players who have purchased the DLC are not able to play with players who have not purchased the DLC. Both parties must either own the DLC or not own it.
The Origin Island expansion includes:
- A brand new area to explore with new quests.
- Extra character customization options.
- New materials, ranks and recipes.
- New pet-types: birds and dragons.
- New holiday home, home décor and additional items.
- The Friendship system: allies repeatedly accompany the player on their adventures will become more friendly towards them, and the more they like the player character, the better they will perform in battle.
- Exclusive items to exchange for Lunares Coins.
Unlock requirements after purchasing:
- Completing the main story.
- Befriending both Yuelia and Noelia (the latter must reach level 45).
- Reaching level 50.
- Once the above requirements are met, players must talk to Yuelia at their house.
NOTE: Only the quests and Origin Island location need to be unlocked, the customization options, etc are available from the start of the game if the DLC has been purchased