When I played Fictorum for the first time, I played it like a serious game and was frustrated and unimpressed. I died a lot so I called a friend who is better at games and he also played it with the goal to learn the ins and outs and of course to win. He did not enjoy it either, although he did die a lot less. Another friend came over, a large and gregarious man who is quick to laugh and handy with a joke. This lightened the mood. Our focus changed from winning to running around, blowing things up and casting spells at dead enemies to see what absurd positions we could move their bodies into. Suddenly Fictorum became charming and fun!
As a serious game, I found Fictorum lacking. The tutorial attempts to be clever, but is actually annoying. The words are sprawled in red across fences and buildings and even in the air. I had to keep moving my character around to be able to clearly see all the words in a sentence. The tutorial should be easy to play so that it fulfills its primary function and teaching you the game. Fictorum is not a game for beginners. I only found my Inventory because I hit “I” out of habit and luckily, it opened right up.
There are many options to customize your character in Fictorum. There are multiple color choices and two sliders to allow you to get exactly the color you want. There are multiple facial hair options. You can wear a “bucket of shame” which is a silly helmet that appears on your character if you choose the easiest setting. I liked the amount of options for customization. I dislike that there was no option to play as a female. This may have been plot related, although I saw nothing in the plot that required the mage to be male.
The quests on certain maps are unclear and hard to follow. On one, I was told to clear all the enemies, but all I had to do was go destroy the towers and leave and still got credit. On another, there was an indicator bar on the screen that filled as we killed enemies, although I do not know if skipping the enemies and going right to the tower would have worked as we became fixated on filling that bar.
Fictorum is difficult. I died a lot, my friends who played it, died a lot as well. We found very few healing potions and health doesn’t regenerate. There also seems to be no melee option if you run out of mana, which I did frequently. These limitations could be lifted and easily improve Fictorum by leaps and bounds.
I actually assumed Fictorum was developed by non-native English speakers given the word choices, typos, and clunky sentence structures. The developer, Scraping Bottom Games, is actually located in Seattle WA. That was disappointing considering how terrible dialog was. They should consider a proof reader in the future, or a better one at least. The written scroll showing the story in Fictorum does looks amazing. The detail work is great and it looks like it could be a real magic scroll!
The best part of Fictorum is blowing up the buildings. If you look at it like Goat Simulator, with a kind of tongue-in-cheek approach and a sense of humor, then it can be an enjoyable experience. Comical at the least. I am not sure who Fictorum was made for. Steam told me I played 69 minutes but I was convinced I had played for hours. It sure felt like it. When playing alone, the game was not fun. Playing with an audience, launching things off mountains, blowing up buildings, and joking about the randomly generated names, which are hilarious, was a blast though. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough fun to save Fictorum from being a painful experience solo.
Fictorum is currently available for PC via Steam. This review was based on a copy provided by the publisher.
- Blowing things up is awesome!
- Prince Marmalade Fluffers
- It's funny and entertaining
- Enemy AI is not very sophisticated
- Health doesn't regenerate and heal potions are scarce
- Ragdoll physics make enemy deaths comical and sometimes super creepy