Many questions have risen regarding Fantasy Life. What is it really, is it like this game, or that game, should you buy it?
I'm hoping to help you a bit with the little blog entry. I'm around only 35 hours in the game, but can answer many of your answers or concerns already. I've been reading a lot about this game for the past year as I was expecting it, a lot.
First of, to which game could you compare it? The answer is, to many, many games.
Many compared it to Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon. Well, not really. Sure, like in Animal Crossing you can decorate your home, but that's pretty much the only thing you can compare it to. And to compare it to Harvest Moon wouldn't really be accurate either. Rune Factory 4 would be much, much closer, if you take out the farming aspect and the relationship system; you can't get married in Fantasy Life.
Is it really a life sim? No, not really.
Fantasy Life is more of a light hearted RPG, but with much more deep you would expect of it. There is no turn based combat, it's all action combat. The crafting system is deep enough, you can be self sufficient fast enough. You can switch your class (called Life in the game) almost anytime you want, and you keep your skills when you do so, which allow you to craft weapons while you are a wizard, for instance.
So, to which game could you compare it? Probably a mix between a Zelda game and Rune Factory, with a touch of Final Fantasy, and if you think that decorating your home is really important, add an Animal Crossing twist, JUST for the home part.
If you guys are interested, I can write deeper blog posts about the game, its classes, mechanics and whatnot. If you have any question, please feel free to ask.