The brainchild of Peter Molyneux at Lionhead Studios, Fable is an action RPG that has been around since the original Xbox. Loved and hated in equal measure, although hated more and more with every passing sequel, truth be told, the franchise has started to branch out recently, with the recently announced Kinnect spin-off, Live Arcade pub games, and this Windows Phone 7 version of one of the pub games, Coin Golf.
Actually playing a lot like a mix between Shove Ha’penny, Golf and Pinball, this game is attractive and fun, although the element of randomness can kill a lot of the enjoyment.
Each level starts by zooming into the table, which shows off the attractive graphics nicely. Once there you are presented with the table, initially displayed from a raised, almost isometric viewpoint although this can be changed with on-screen sliders. You will want to change the viewpoint to an overhead view as it is really difficult to judge angles and corners from the default view. A big annoyance is that the game doesn’t remember your preference when starting a level and instead reverts to the default every time.
When the game starts, you must try to get the puck to the exit in as few moves as possible. The fewer moves the better, and goes towards your target score, which can also be boosted by collecting coins and performing other actions.
There are also enemies around some of the levels and you lose points if they touch you, although they can be dispatched if you collect the right upgrade. The upgrade coins are a nice idea and can help with chopping down tress etc.
There are a lot of other obstacles in the game, and each level is essentially a puzzle to be solved. There 45 levels in total, and when you finish a chapter, you actually unlock content in the main Xbox 360 game, Fable 3, a nice incentive for fans of the game.
The presentation is really good here, with comical cut scenes before levels, an impressive set of visuals and decent audio.
As this is an Xbox Live title, there are also leaderboards and achievements that go towards your Gamerscore, and the game sits in the top section of your Games app, instead of languishing in the ‘other games’ part at the bottom. Seriously, Microsoft need to sort that out, as it’s just not fair on smaller developers. If you think Mango fixes this, it doesn’t, the non-Live games are still at the bottom.
The main problem I have with this game is the feeling of randomness throughout everything you do. Yes its possible to get very good at the game, but obstacles seem to shoot you off at wrong angles, and with way too much force, and it can be an exercise in frustration getting though some parts of the game. It can be very annoying to hit an enemy right near the end of a complex level and see the puck flying around uncontrollably.
The other main gripe is the length of the game. The 45 levels will only last you an hour or two, and that is not enough for the asking price, and I feel there should be triple that amount of levels to keep you going.
Overall, this is a good looking, fun puzzle game with a few too many frustrations and far too few levels to play through.