Review – Sword and Fairy Inn 2 (Switch)

When I was younger and upgrading my cell phone, I’d jump to the iPhone 4. Before that, I was a Blackberry Pearl kind of guy. It was pretty cool, yet basic, and wasn’t exactly geared towards a teenage boy using it for R-rated means. Honestly, I was nervous switching to such a delicate device – knowing my clumsy ass, I would drop it. Despite that fear, though, I did it, gaining a net positive in the process. As a gamer, the selection on the App Store is superb – being able to poop while also playing Secret of Mana was and still is a dream come true. You know, I filled that sucker up with a ton of JRPGs, but a second genre was commonplace as well.

Time Management romps were a dime a dozen back then, but people adored what they did. They consistently hit the charts at either number 1 or floating in the top 5. I’d indulge heavily, with Kairosoft currently an Insta-buy whenever they release something new. Sword and Fairy Inn 2, a sequel to a 2001 original I had never heard of, tries to emulate that magic. Published by Eastasiasoft, I’m rather skeptical of the quality, but I’ll keep an open mind about it. Will it prove to be successful, or is it disorganized and messy?

Sword and Fairy Inn 2 - An illustration of the girls at a festival.

I’ll give Sword and Fairy credit for one thing – the art is cute.

Recently, I’ve been super impressed by the localizations of EAS. They used to be littered with broken English, but that isn’t an issue anymore. It’s readable, and that holds factual with Sword and Fairy Inn 2. There are some inconsequential hiccups, of course, but usually, it’s concise and only ever extends as far as a missing word here and there. The big problem plaguing it is how stilted everything is – that becomes painfully clear after a handful of dialogue lines. Sure, I can understand the general gist of what’s being conveyed, but it’s also quite robotic – very little about the exchanges felt natural, and all of the mediocre stabs at personality do not help that. I recognize the desire to give these NPCs individuality, but it comes off like a wet fart. The tinge of immersion is stifled, with subpar plot structure at fault.

Simply put, the narrative bounces around like crazy. It goes into this perpetual rotation of genericism, no coherence, and zero intrigue. What didn’t help is the many small references to the core franchise. I was routinely clueless about what was being pulled from the already-established lore. Yeah, I appreciate them staying faithful to the material, but it’s a giant misstep to assume everyone’s familiar. I sure as hell am not, and whenever a tidbit was tossed out that left me bewildered, I wondered if perhaps, with more context, my experience would be slightly better. It’s for this reason that I firmly think Sword and Fairy Inn 2 is geared toward hardcore fans. It’s still serviceable for a casual audience, and it’s not the focus on one demographic that’s harmful. It’s the shallowness and how it doesn’t explain the nuances of these characters.   

In fairness, despite the harshness of my prior statements, I did want to acknowledge the sense of humor. It’s here, and so is perceived banter. Playful insults and teasing happen, but it’s also muddled. See, in addition to how mechanical it sounds, it tries too much to flaunt a vast vocabulary – and I would know. Look at how damn pretentious my coverage can be, but imagine it in a video game. There’s a time and place, and when creating a lighthearted jaunt, that’s not it. The comedic delivery is broken up, and it’s hard to discern a whimsical tone. I can’t tell if it’s doused with sarcasm or drenched with quirkiness. It’s this disconnect that proves to be a hindrance. To summarize, the speech patterns are not very realistic.

Sword and Fairy Inn 2 - Checking how to walk into the next level of Inn.

See, there’s potential, but man, it’s squandered so hard.

The gameplay loop won’t be overly complicated, but it can get overwhelming. Essentially, I own both a restaurant and an inn hybrid. As patrons walk in, they order food from the menu. It’s straightforward so far, and another facet I like is how I can choose what goes on it. On top of that, the daily specialty also relies on my whims. If I desire fried rice as a spotlight dish, I make it so. It gives me the ability to infuse a touch of personalization into my session. It’s a stellar way of getting me to engage, or, well, it should be. In actuality, it’s because of a failure to properly convey the benefits of picking particular foods that renders this feature pointless. I’m unsure what differentiates cooking roast as opposed to a salad. Basically, never knowing the advantages of one or the other hurts.

The frustration doesn’t end there, either. In the beginning, there’s a lone room for rent. Through playing, I can unlock more, but the issue is I’m not sure how. I know folks hate when games spell out solutions, and I do as well, but there isn’t even a hint. Instead of dangling a carrot in front of my face, giving me a soft nudge in the right direction, I’m left to my own devices. I felt my drive to continue running dry. If you think about it, this gripe circles back to that lack of motivation I alluded to earlier. Without an obvious goal, I don’t care to finish. Now, I wouldn’t say that it feels like a chore. If it did, at least, then I’d feel something. As it is, it’s dull. I sat there, going through the motions without a sense of delight.

Despite my negativity, there are great notions in Sword and Fairy Inn 2, like how between rounds, I can hurry into town to hoard ingredients for service the following day. I was tasked with planning it. In a strange way, that invited a good bit of strategy. I’d have to balance the funds I earn against what I can afford. That’s enticing to me. I must be cognizant of what I select. Unfortunately, this facet is only at the precipice of reaching its potential, and that’s due to my problem with this title’s failure at conveyance – it falls off a cliff. I began blindly throwing together a menu based solely on flipping a coin. As a result of that, the monetary return was abhorrent. There’s evidently a method, but I’ve no earthly clue what it is.

Sword and Fairy Inn 2 - A review of my customers.

It seems my restaurant is a hit with young boys.

When I first booted up this Sword and Fairy Inn 2, I was prepared to shout at a perceived imbalance. I thought the cost of supplies was too expensive compared to profit. While yeah, I still feel there’s a lopsidedness; it’s not as prevalent as I thought. At the risk of repeating myself, it’s, again, because of poor communication on how mechanics work. If I were making money hand over fist, I wouldn’t be bothered. If I were equipped with the knowledge of my customer’s day-to-day preferences, I would likely flourish. Instead, I’m barely scraping by and must concentrate on staying afloat. It’s nigh impossible to purchase what I need to better my business, meaning I never felt a sense of progression because my resources were always put into the materials I needed. If anything, I felt as if I was trapped in a constant runt.

Naturally, upgrading your establishment is paramount in a time management romp. It’s what pushes you towards the finish and can be handled in various ways, like tables allowing for more people to be seated. To construct these, however, it requires wood, and to get those, I have to trade a specific ingredient. The whole process becomes this mess of transactions. Now, I’ll spare y’all the broken record spiel and highlight how the majority of mishaps I encountered are due to a solitary decision – ambiguity. If an upcoming patch adds tutorials, I’d gain the know-how to bolster my money, and by proxy, I could buy items to better my inn. As it stands, this experience falters, which does not bode well for pleasure.

Of course, there’s yet another path I can take to enhance my gameplay, and that’s to heighten the talents of characters. I can increase their cooking by practicing a dish, bolstering its star ranking in the process, or speeding up their ability to take the orders of clientele by having them better their cardio. At a glance, it sounds fantastic, but in action, it’s anything but because of how egregiously slow it is. You see, it only ticks up by one, and when it does, I don’t even notice a difference. That tells me I have to raise it a modest amount before a discernible change can be seen. However, since it took forever, I lost my libido. Look, I’m not going to sugarcoat how meaningless it feels or the times I asked myself why I was subjecting my life to this horrible tedium when I could move on.

Sword and Fairy Inn 2 - Doing exercise to better how agile I am.

Boosting by one is so lame. We need more to feel like we’re accomplishing something.

If I didn’t outline the fact that after four years, the scope of the journey widens, my integrity would come into question. I’m not tied to a village anymore, with a gigantic map now being my oyster. Sadly, it seems like Sword and Fairy Inn 2 forgot vital information – a good first impression is crucial. If the initial hour is tiresome, then chances are, I don’t stick around to see that area expansion. Hell, if it weren’t for this being a review, I frankly wouldn’t have lasted beyond sixty minutes. This title is incapable of reeling me in, but hey, on the bright side, it isn’t a lost cause – an update or five could be the saving grace to right the ship, going from mediocrity to average.

Before I dive into what I’m about to discuss, I want to first preface it with my session being played on the OLED. For anyone that owns that model, you’ll know the screen helps the colors to pop. The image quality can be crisp, too. Well, as far as Sword and Fairy Inn 2 goes, I did find the detail as I traversed the town to be great. It’s easy to tell that a lot of attention went to ensuring that fruit looked like fruit or that the clutter of the streets, as well as all the buildings, had an authentic feel.

While I’m a fan of what I mentioned, a divisive inclusion is the characters themselves. The game seems to be going for a chibi look mixed with a toy-like aesthetic. They resemble figurines. As for the animations, they’re smooth, especially when I’m idle. It’s impressive, but these models also have an obvious flaw – blurry resolution. It’s weird seeing such muddiness. The visuals aren’t l demanding. In theory, the Nintendo Switch should handle it with no fumbles. It seems poor optimization is to blame, and animation fluidity was the priority.

Sword and Fairy Inn 2 - Talking to my manager.

See, it’s not all doom and gloom. It resembles how people talk, but the delivery is off. It’s close…

Sword and Fairy Inn 2 fails almost every way, but it’s fortunate to be salvageable. With a quick barrage of patches, it could turn fate in its favor. Not to a sublime degree, but enough to be playable. For starters, implementing tutorials would be a good first step. I want to see tangible progression. I want to be engrossed and not be playing hide-and-seek with the mechanics. Sure, the script is understandable, but that also falls flat due to its lack of charisma. The silliness isn’t where it wants to be, thanks to wackiness having no substance. The graphics are moderate, and I find the Chibi models adorable, but that won’t negate how boring my session was. I’m disappointed by it. In its current state, I can’t, in good conscience, recommend you buy it.

Graphics: 5.0

I attention to detail is applaudable, but the blurry resolution, particularly with character faces, is odd. It’s clearer when in dialogue, too, which confuses me. 

Gameplay: 4.0

It’s a time management game, and it has precisely what I expected. For that, it’s great. It’s all the elements surrounding it that pull it down to the underworld. I couldn’t get into it. 

Sound: 3.0

It’s not that it isn’t bad. The music is accurate to the period, but it’s also not memorable. Hell, I couldn’t tell you how any of the tracks went. 

Fun Factor: 1.5

I felt like I was just going through the motions. Not seeing actual progression was a huge buzzkill for me. There’s no motivation to keep on playing, and while I think the ideologies here are sound, execution is severely lacking. 

Final Verdict: 3.0

Sword and Fairy Inn 2 is available now on Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4/5, and PC.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Sword and Fairy Inn 2 was provided by the publisher.