Flicking the stick around rather than mashing buttons is initially intriguing (although not that new - Rise to Honour represent), but it quickly becomes so dull that the play experience is entirely disconnected. There's no subtlety and no challenge. Stand near some guys. Waggle. Over. Once in a while an enemy shoots upwards, and once I even juggled him up there with some follow-up blows, but it all seems to happen by accident. You don't need to do it - flailing wildly is easily as effective. Button-mashing without the buttons.
Enemies are recycled with depressing regularity. After six hours or so I had only really met eight or nine different types, some of which were just reskins with different weapons and the same attacks. These enemies are also the feed-bag for Fairytale's one-trick pony: all the game does is put the player in an area with a closed door or magical barrier and pour enemies into it until you've wiped them all out. Then it chucks a few more in to make sure.
The lack of challenge is the final nail in the coffin of fun. Killing enemies and opening chests produces treasure. Getting killed loses it, but this is the only penalty for dying - a few of your precious baubles scattered around the tombstone where you immediately respawn.
Except they're not precious. There's no need to care about how much treasure you accumulate. Occasionally you come across a wishing well, which, for a fixed amount of treasure, will spew out weaponry, but said weaponry is rarely better than what's lying on the battlefield anyway. You can also spend money on improving the statue of yourself in the hub town that no-one will ever see or care about. No penalty for dying, no reward for surviving. No challenge. No variety.
Then there's the dips in frame-rate, the peculiar perspective which makes precision jumping impossible, the way that the camera abandons a player left behind in local co-op, the way the over-cluttered and yet innert levels obscure more than they decorate, the weapons you can't pick up (or which float spookily skywards for no reason), the tedious bosses or the incredibly grating repeated instant-death sections. These are faults, of course, but compared to the grinding mediocrity of the rest they're just the equivalent of having your radio stuck on Heart FM in a really long traffic jam.
It's telling that Fairytale Fights attracted a lot of attention in the office. Grabbed by the garish colour scheme and arresting art, three or four people sat down for co-op. None of them lasted 10 minutes, and nobody came back. There are clearly some talented people at Playlogic - notably whoever did the endearing cut-scenes, which play out like Hanna-Barbera doing The Matrix. How something so colourful and quirky became so bland is a mystery of the creative process.
4 / 10