Ah, understandable naming conventions, may you never spread to the shores of Japan. Fairy Bloom is a freeware Japanese indie game from 2005 about defending a giant plant from evil red versions of yourself. All the fun of a button-mashing action platformer without any of that payment-requiring plot, progression or 3rd dimension. It’s alright and still available if you’re into that.
Fairy Bloom Freesia was released in 2012, taking the basic concepts of Fairy Bloom, particularly that enemies could be hit into each other, and adding to it. It removed the plant and made your character the target, adding a block button and more complex play area as well as unlocks and more complex combos. The newly released Ultra Encore strips all that away again, being an HD version of the original game. The right direction? Well, no.
Basically, if you go from Freesia’s demo (available on Steam and off) to the $0.99 Ultra Encore, as I did today, you’ll be wondering where all the features and framerate went. Encore provides the 10-15 minutes of entertainment you might expect for the price but there’s far more interesting things to do in the 2012 offering. The change to Unreal Engine does little but make it harder to run and add an ugly contrast between background 3D prettiness and foreground sprites. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have some interest in the source code, which can be bought with the game if you bump the price to $9.99.
Freesia, however, is great. It has a much more complex series of button combos to master right from the off and quickly unlocks options for expanding them further. The “mana” that is spent on these upgrades can also be used on passive boosts to health or damage, giving you a choice. You’re also limited by a number of slots for these abilities to fit in, corresponding to various button combinations. There’s also some semblance of plot, though I’ll make no promises as to the quality of translation.
The free demo provides more entertainment than either other version of the game and it’s worth checking out to see if it’s your thing. You can also grab it on Steam and elsewhere for around $8, probably less in upcoming Halloween sales. Here’s a trailer: