Well, ain't this cute. Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling came out today, planting a microscopic adventure in a fantastical world of insects. It's unashamedly "a bit like the Paper Mario RPGs", but those games never came to PC and I hear the last one was a bit naff. I'll let it slide for now. If Bug Fables manages to capture the charm of a series that made a soulless plumber mascot likeable, though, we could have a family-friendly winner on our hands here.
Bug Fables might not look too complex or challenging. But gosh, it's awful nice to look at.
Like the paperweight games it aspires to, Bug Fables is a charming little lightweight RPG. It's your standard fare, nothing too outrageous - save the kingdoms, find the magical doodad, meet some friendly NPCs. Job's a good'un. With a team of three critters you'd hate to find in your bath at night, you're off to find the eponymous sapling by way of exploration and plenty of RPG battling.
For the most part, you're doing standard JRPG stuff - attack, defend, use items, etc. But Bug Fables includes a sorta-realtime mechanic where a timely button press will often land you a critical hit, or help you dodge a rough blow. Characters can also carry special moves into the overworld - for example, a chilled-out wizard can create icy platforms to cross rivers, while a tough-as-nails beetle can burrow under obstacles to reach hidden corners.
There's no way around it. Bug Fables is gosh-danged adorable. Your wee band of critters might be two-dimensional, but look at their wee faces! The world is called Bugaria. All the regions called "The Bee Kingdom" and "Snakemouth Den". It's the kind of daft nonsense my partner and I banter about when we're way too tired. I love it.