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Hand Of Fate Review: Deal Me In!
Hand of Fate is a very unique title. Best described as a mixture of a card game, choose your own adventure, and Action-RPG, it definitely aspires to have a little something for everyone, and in most aspects it succeeds in this quest.
Hand of Fate is one of the many games to be funded via Kickstarter. The game raised $54,000 in the thirty days it was open for funding, which exceeded its target goal.
The goal of the game is to battle through the dealer’s 12 champions. By maneuvering around the game table, you collect items, battle foes, and gain experience. The card table is reminiscent of a game board, and you move your hero piece from card to card, each space presenting a new challenge. These challenges begin with a choose your own adventure style of choice, with text describing the situation you are in, which then prompts you to choose how to respond. Each choice can pan out fairly differently, resulting in combat, rewards, or curses.
Beginning each new round, you are given the opportunity to customize your deck. This allows you to choose which cards may be encountered throughout the game. Beating a new champion at the end of the round, unlocks new cards for you to put to use. Cards can also be obtaining if you encounter a shop, where weapons items and armour can be purchased by using your gold cards.
I would have appreciated a bit more of a tutorial – as you are thrust into the game as soon as you begin. While the game is simplistic enough in design, I can understand the reason for omitting a standard tutorial, but I would definitely have liked a few more things explained at the beginning. For example, upon encountering my first shop card and being prompted to buy food, I had no idea how much food was required in the first place. A short tutorial option in the menu to review some of the key concepts of the game would have helped to alleviate this problem for sure.
The display is simple, with no menus to bumble through. The interface is very user friendly and I got the feeling that pretty much anyone could pick up and play this game without much trouble. With only two game options to choose from, story mode and endless, Hand of Fate is perfect for pick up and play style game play, and I enjoyed hopping into the game for 15-20 minute intervals at a time to play through a round or two.
While not graphically stunning in anyway, I liked the presentation of the game. It had a look I would best compare to Fable, a cartoony yet detailed background awaits you when you enter battle, and the characters look good. Animation is solid, although the small confines of the battle arenas were a little disappointing. Small details such as the flickering of the candle on the game board were nice touches, and overall I thought the game was nicely presented.
Audio is contained to in game sound effects and battle noises, and the voice acting of the mysterious dealer. Most of the information needed to properly play the game is relayed through the dealer, and listening closely as he talks and comments on the cards is key to success. I appreciated the bits of humour that the Dealer relayed sometimes as well, and it definitely helped break the otherwise tense and mysterious atmosphere.
Loading screens were a tad frustrating, as you sometimes would stare at a black screen for 3-5 seconds as you transitioned from the card table to an action sequence. There are also some stuttering issues present, especially when the dealer is shuffling and reassembling the deck of cards.
It is possible for the game to get quite repetitive, as within the first one to two draws of a card you usually know which response to give to get the best outcome. Shuffling up your deck each round and inserting new cards and removing existing cards is essential to keeping things fresh.
Combat is very fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the short and sweet battle sequences interspersed throughout the game. The battle system is reminiscent of Batman or Shadow of Mordor, with button timing and counters key to success. It is a simple yet effective system, which I felt was very much in place with the fast paced rouge-like experience the devs were aiming for.
While it is quite possible that this is more of a testament to the excellent combat than it is to the repetitiveness of the card sections, I did find myself mashing x at some points, especially during repeat card draws, just to hurry it along to the next combat sequence.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Hand of Fate. For a kickstarted title, it delivers on its promises made throughout development very well, and presents an overall polished gameplay experience. For those looking for something fresh and new, or maybe a new indie title that they can pick up and play when they get some spare time, Hand of Fate is a solid option. While it does have its issues, as a whole they don’t detract from the fun of the title of itself; and hey, in the end teats what games are for huh?
Hand of Fate is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC platforms. A review copy of this game was generously provided by the publisher, and was played on the PlayStation 4.
- Excellent Combat
- Great Presentation
- Unique Concept
- Can Get Repetitive