Fairy Bloom Freesia is a 2D character action game by Edelweiss released on the PC in 2012. It stars the titular fairy as she employs her awe-inspiring strength to beat the everloving hell out of anyone and anything threatening her forest.
The story mode of the game is quite short on actual story. It's complete, but with little characterization awarded to the characters. In retrospect, it feels like a fairy tale (Heh!) of sorts. Every character could easily be distilled into a basic description that leaves room for the imagination without much being lost.
It's probably a symptom of the budget that the story is so short, clocking in at an hour or two, depending on your skill. It's a promising setting that I would've liked to see a bit more of. If only to have rematches with bosses and see Freesia crush their faces again.
Freesia is a rather faithful translation of character action mechanics in 2D. I'd say it's closest to Viewtiful Joe, minus the VFX powers. Movement-wise, you have a dash activated through double-tapping a direction (which I never make use of), a double jump and block-skipping, which can be used to dodge.
For more defence options, we have also get an omni-directional block that's limited by a meter. With proper timing you can negate an attack's strain on your block meter. If you fall, you can also make use of Joe's Ukemi move to recover from an attack that knocks you over.
Getting around poses no problems. It's a bit sad that there aren't full areas for you to traverse though, the game is limited to a select few arenas with different backgrounds and platforms. I can see why they did this, as the combat mechanics make good use of this fact.
Freesia is absurdly powerful to play as. She's fast, knocks around enemies with ease and can cancel all actions to block just about any attack. Lesser games would let you get away with this and have some unearned fun, but not this one. In order to balance this, the game drowns you in foes who are much more aggressive than one would expect.
The central idea of the game is to keep a combo going whilst not getting so greedy that you ignore enemy tells from all directions and a multitude of ranges. You need to juggle foes into corners and eachother as you move around. It's pretty spiffy.
You also get special moves limited by regenerating mana, not unlike Joe's VFX gauge. Except here, it's more for strong attacks instead of abilites that manipulates everything on screen. Sadly, there were only a few that I got attached to. Those ones were awesome, but stuff like most of the projectiles feel way too weak (except for the Kamehameha, that one is awesome).
The enemy variety could be better, but I see this as a game best played in short bursts, as I did. It's so much fun to just slam into a pile of monsters for a little while and then move on to something else. It would work wonders on a handheld.
As you punt monsters into the depths of the earth, you earn levels which boost stats and unlock new skills. The stat gain doesn't make much of a difference, except maybe offer a helping hand if you get a bit stuck.
The skills are divided into three types. The basic kind which extend your normal moveset, the previously mentioned special ones and passive skills. The passive ones offer some decent variety, but I haven't played with them much. I just gravitated to the strength and block increases. Thankfully, you can swap around at your leisure, so experimenting isn't an issue unless you want to make sure that you're able to get your favorites as soon as possible.
Outside of hard mode with or without NG+ bonuses, there's also a survival mode called Guardian Mode where you need to survive as long as possible a few rounds at a time. It distills the game to its basics and plays to the appeal of only playing the game for a little bit at a time. It's a very relaxing experience I find.
Until you come to terms with your greed, the bosses of the game will curbstomp you. With there not being any oppurtunity costs to your moves and bosses having loads of poise, it becomes very easy to do too many attacks at once and get clipped by a counter.
But once you figure out that you should only do two attacks at a time and block constantly, the bosses are all beaten in the same way. I blame the power of the block for this, I feel like the bosses should have some sort of telegraphed guard break.
Still, they have diverse attacks and are a fun spectacle, so I'll give them a pass.