Plum

        I do love complex and fascinating games, but sometimes simplicity wins out and creates something just as impressive. Fairy Bloom Freesia is an example of that. The gameplay, visuals, and music are all absolutely stunning, and I was instantly in awe. It has a fairly simplistic plot, however- Freesia the fairy is protecting the forest from invaders with the help of her trusty knife, a little magic, and completely awesome kung fu.
        The game itself I’d classify as a beat-em-up, but unlike most you aren’t fighting enemies to progress into further areas. Freesia, after all, is trying to stop her enemies from getting deeper into the forest, so all the fighting in each stage, or ‘day’, takes place in one area, while the next day make take place in another. This makes sense, since her foes, golems sent by a neighboring kingdom, are likely coming in from different areas each time to try and throw her off.
        In any case, battle itself is fairly simple. Freesia has many combos to use, and by beating enemies she gets experience to unlock more, as well as increased health, defense, and so on, and special magic attacks ranging from powerful new attacks to magic spells, though she cannot apply more than four special moves and two optional upgrades at once. Personally, my favorite combo is the simplest- by running and attacking she’ll hit the enemy once, and a second attack will have her kick them at whatever is behind them, which can quickly turn into an absurd pile of bodies.
        As for the best magic attack, I have three favorites, but the second and third I’ll cover later. Swallow, on the other hand, fires out a thin magic shot that pierces enemies, and, while it doesn’t hurt much, it will arc back to strike enemies multiple times, and curve to hit enemies even if it isn’t aimed at them expressly, making it great for hitting several enemies at once, or one enemy many times.
        In any case, these golem battles get more and more deadly as their numbers and power increase. The kingdom sends stronger golems, and more verities, such as the flying laser firing ones, and creepy tall ones that are twice as strong. After the defeat of a boss, the Lumbering Golem, the humans in charge of the golems notice its destruction and wonder what could have done it.
        Freesia finds them and tells them she did it, then asks why they are sending these golems into the forest. Listine, apparently in charge of the operation, explains they are using the golems to find something calling the Amal Stone, and asks if Freesia knows where it is. Freesia doesn’t know what it is, and suggests they leave. They do for now, Listine not wanting to trouble Freesia further, possibly because he finds her attractive. He also expresses doubt that she really destroyed the Lumbering Golem.
Later Freesia talks to Master Jomon, the oldest tree in the forest, about the Amal Stone. He does in fact know what it is- it’s a magical stone that enchanted the forest, allowing it to flourish as it has, and in fact is what gives Master Jomon life, so taking it would kill him.
        Later, after several more golem attacks, Listine decides to go look for the stone himself, after his king complains about them taking so long. Thus we have the second boss battle, which firmly proves to him how strong Freesia is. Later we face his accomplice, Shynie, for much the same reason. Listine fights up close with a blade, while Shynie is basically a less overwhelming version of Sakuya, throwing knives in various ways.
        Since both failed, the royal scientist decides to send in his latest creation, a girl simply named Plum, who he describes as half golem, though he doesn’t elaborate further. Thus we have our fourth, and most difficult, boss battle, and also the most interesting story-wise.
While the previous battles were fairly clear in terms of why they were fighting, this one is more confusing for the fairy herself. When Freesia sees Plum she instantly seems to think Plum is another fairy like herself, and even asks what forest she is from. Plum doesn’t understand any of this, and simply says that if she doesn’t hand over the Amal Stone, she’ll kill Freesia. Freesia of course doesn’t want to fight, but we have to anyway.
        Maybe that’s why it’s so hard… whatever the reason, Plum is easily the most dangerous opponent the game has to offer. She wields a sword like Listine, but hers is absolutely massive in comparison, doing far more damage while also telegraphing her moves somewhat. However, she easily attacks fast enough and frequently enough to make up for that.
As mentioned, she uses a sword, so she tends to get up close, but her moves are stronger than Listine’s and she also moves in ways similar to Freesia, such as producing magic wings on her back to double jump and dashing in the same manner. Despite her huge sword, she actually didn’t do more damage than me, but being a boss, she doesn’t flinch like Freesia does, and has far more health. She will in fact flinch if hit enough, but unlike Listine and Shynie, she is stunned for a far shorter time, basically enough time to maybe get one hit in, and there is no way of knowing how much more damage a boss’ guard can take, so there’s no real way of planning for that.
        Because of all this, I recommend that you give Freesia the health boost and physical defense boost to help her endure Plum’s attacks as best as possible. As for special abilities, there are two I highly recommend. First would be Swallow, because it can hit her as she chases after and attacks Freesia, multiple times. Second would be Tetsuzankou. This move basically works as a counter against physical attacks. Freesia will block briefly and if she is struck in that time, she will counter with a powerful attack, easily four times stronger than usual. Timing is key, as it uses up a good chunk of Freesia’s mana to use, and it only gives a brief window of protection.
        Once you work out when to do so, however, it is possible to counter or nullify Plum’s attacks via perfectly timed blocks. As for what those attacks are, she uses five different attacks. First is a slash she only uses when following you, as it produces a energy wave a bit ahead of herself, and, since she is faster than you, this will likely hit. If she jumps, she will likely sin with the help of her fairy wings, which will injure you as well. This is generally done to knock you out of the air, in response to your jumping.
        Next is her dropping slash, done via a double jump that leads into her slashing downward and making a explosion. This can be blocked or countered, but it would be easier to take the time that she isn’t directly in front of you to dodge, especially since this attack counters while she in the air, so you wouldn’t hit her most of the time. Thus, it is best to avoid and use the time to strike when she lands.
        Her last two attacks are her most common when she has you countered, which, given she rushes to you constantly, will likely happen often. First is an underhanded slash, which executes very quickly, often too quick for me to counter. It might be better just to block that one normally. Her last move is an overhead swing, stronger than the other, but slower. To compensate, she feints the attack to try and get you to react before she moves and leave yourself open. However, once you know that, it is the easiest move to counter.
        As for how to deal with her, keep on the move and fire Swallow when you have any distance on her. She will run straight for you, letting the Swallow hit her multiple times. When she does corner you, that’s when you bring out the counters. Since both require mana, it’s best not to rely on one tactic too much. Escape from the corner when she does a jumping attack or by jumping yourself to let your mana build up, and strike when she pauses, though that isn’t often.
        Lastly, do not run normally. Instead, hold down the guard button and your chosen direction. Freesia will hop backwards, allowing her to dodge most attacks coming her way, even if she’s reached a corner, and it moves faster, allowing you to keep ahead of Plum and her attacks. If you exploit all of this, you can keep ahead of her, strike her multiple times when she gives chase, and counter her blows to injure her in the place of yourself. If you can do all that, victory should be yours.
        But we’re not done. Plum returns to face you again as the final boss as well, powered up even more via an accidental fusion with the Amal Stone. While her attacks are not any quicker, she now pursues you even more doggedly, and the attacks themselves have extra effects. For instance, the midair wing strike will produce a barrage of energy blasts raining down on you. They do little damage, but it adds up. I wouldn’t say this requires a different strategy, except for a few things.
        First, Freesia should be around level 33 for this fight, and will therefore will have access to Two Hearts, a support power that raises her health to full when she should have taken a fatal blow. She doesn’t even react to the fatal blow itself, basically giving her twice her usual health. You’ll wait to equip this both for the obvious reasons, and because Plum has it too, making the battle last twice as long.
        Freesia should also have Mother’s Breath, a powerful attack that not only strike everything around her, but it charges up, healing her as it does so and stopping her from flinching. This will be very useful, as before you face Plum herself there is a battle against a giant vortex of energy that spawns golems and smaller vortexes. The vortexes all spew out energy blasts on occasion, but unless you have several golems attacking you at once, Mother’s Breath should prevent you from taking any real damage, and will help you make short work of the giant vortex.
        Against Plum herself, however, it has less use- if you use it before she is close to you, she will react by warping away and firing energy blasts, doing this in a loop until you stop using Mother’s Breath, at which point she will resume trying to close in and smash you with her sword. This prevents you from actually hitting her with it, and partially negates the healing. You do still heal, however, so you can use this as a breather to get your health back. Further, if she is already close, she will attack you even if you use the move, allowing you to strike her. Her physical attacks generally do more damage than you can heal, so it may be best to stick to countering.
        I don’t expect any player to do this perfectly,(I certainly didn’t) but with time and dedication, even a boss as powerful as this one will fall. That is what’s really fun about it, after all. The difficulty makes you want to win more and more, which makes that moment where you finally are victorious all the sweeter.

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