Abigail and the Kingdom of Fairs is a decent – if largely unoriginal – building sim
A girl finds a book which opens a portal to another world… What sounds like the usual premise of a hidden object game is actually the foundation for the new building simulation Abigail and the Kingdom of Fairs. While the game is slightly reminiscent of Wonderburg or Carnival Mania, it is unfortunately a case of “Would have been awesome two years ago.” That said, it’s still worth a look for fans of the genre.
Abigail and the Kingdom of Fairs features 50 levels and three different modes, which means that the player will get a very decent amount of playtime out of the game. What’s more, the two modes beside the adventure (story) mode are called “banker” and “defender,” and offer distinct levels instead of just rehashing the material from the adventure mode. As the names already imply, defender mode features even more monsters threatening your fairs, while your goal in banker mode mostly consists of collecting a certain amount of coins.
Regarding the gameplay Abigail and the Kingdom of Fairs is a very typical and straightforward building simulation, set in a fantastic and colorful world. You will build three different sorts of buildings – attractions, shops and functional structures – by hiring magicians and purchasing magic, which is the only resource of this game. Your goals include building, repairing or upgrading certain structures, converting a certain amount of monsters, or accumulating a fixed number of coins or revenue. The five locations differ in appearance and the types of monsters that attack, but they do have any effect on the actual gameplay.
While attractions such as juggler, castle of horrors or elephant provide revenue as well as smiles, shops for potions, herbal medicine, and books only offer income, though it is significantly higher than that of attractions. Functional buildings only serve specific purposes, and you generally need a certain number of smiles to construct those. The workshop prevents nearby buildings from being damaged, the school of magic decreases the cost for hiring magicians, while the inventor decreases the amount of materials you need to upgrade nearby buildings.
All those features have been seen before with other names, and the monsters that appear sporadically and might destroy buildings if not clicked away were also a part of Wonderburg. One aspect that sets Abigail and the Kingdom of Fairs slightly apart from similar titles, though, is that shops have to be stocked to make any profit. If you do not check the inventories on a regular basis you will see your regular income drop very quickly. This small feature along with chasing away monsters, repairing buildings, constructing new shops, and upgrading existing buildings establishes a pretty quick and challenging pace.
The level of difficulty in Abigail and the Kingdom of Fairs is rather well-balanced most of the times. Hard and easy levels sort of alternate later on, and the game never gets really frustrating. The atmosphere fits the theme perfectly despite the slightly outdated graphics, and it is quite entertaining to watch all the visitors of your fair and especially rewarding when at the end of each level the whole fair transforms in a colorful fairy tale.
Unfortunately the whole design of Abigail and the Kingdom of Fairs creates unnecessary annoyances later on, because it is hard to get a good overview of the area. At times it is quite impossible to distinguish which upgrade stars belong to which buildings, and sometimes the “magic” menu appears when you actually clicked an empty lot or a certain building. Those small issues would not have been bothersome in another game, but as quick and challenging as Abigail and the Kingdom of Fairs is, these issues can get annoying with time.
In the end Abigail and the Kingdom of Fairs is worth a look for fans of building sims. Twists and innovations are few and far between, and the graphics are cute though a little dated, but the game offers enough features, varying levels and locations, and most importantly a very long and challenging playing time to outweigh those negative aspects. So if you do not mind a charming but rather uninspired rehash of Wonderburg and the likes you will probably be pleased with this game.