Hand of Fate is a game I’ve been looking forward to reviewing ever since I started playing it in early access. This is a game which has set a high standard for early access games (and by high standard, I mean a playable game). This is also a game which made me realise I should stop reviewing incomplete games as I didn’t want to taint my experience. On the other hand, I can see how Hand of Fate has developed from early access into a fully fledged game, and asides from additional content, refinement and a consolidation of game mechanics, not a lot has changed. Post being kickstarted, the early access release was more or less the game, just not in its entirety.
To briefly sum up, Hand of Fate is a rogue-like, choose your own adventure, deck-building game with combat elements from the Batman Arkham games and it’s amazing. There’s many reasons why this game is great, but I’m going to concentrate on the important ones. I will admit that I seem to have a developed a fondness for rogue-like games, and in particular, rogue-like games with progression. It’s not good enough to just receive a high score. I want unlockables, over-arching stories, one-time bosses; something to achieve. Hand of Fate is a very well-produced game. It’s on more than your average amount of platforms, looks and feels like a game developed from the base up with a AAA team of two dozen as opposed to the reality of a small indie team. It has its own visual-style, reasonable voice-acting and excellent writing. Even if every other part of the game had been awful and had ultimately failed, the people from Defiant Development should be extremely proud of their polished game.
But fortuantely, that isn’t the case. The concept behind it is not only unique, clever and fun, but is also an excellent use of indie resources. What I mean by that is that the game isn’t overly ambitious in what it’s delivering. Rather than having an extensive world which you explore and fight in, the developers have used a deck of cards with choose your own adventure mechanics. Rather than having an extensive amount of controls to master so you can deal with all situations, the developers have chosen to concentrate on the combat, or combat-like encounters, allowing for that aspect of the game to be developed properly. Some of the best indie games are the ones that don’t resemble a half-baked triple AAA game; The Witcher with a 10th of the budget, time and people is not what people want. I’ve mentioned several times that the game is a unique concept and it’s not the Batman Arkham-style combat that does it. You could just as easily replace the action combat with puzzles, dice rolls, random chance or pen and paper mechanics. This is primarily a deck building game. You have an equipment deck and world deck. The equipment deck is where your weapons, armor, shields, helms, rings and boons are kept for you to receive via stores, loot, gifts or rewards. The other deck is your world-building deck. This is the deck that the game master uses to create the world (generally with a couple of nasty additions of his own). You tailor both decks before you start and away you go. One of the more clever aspects of the deck building is that while it’s more than possible to stack both decks in your favour, you’re not inclined to just so you can win. By completing certain requirements for cards you earn tokens which unlocks more cards. So I highly recommend everyone plays this game and unless you can’t afford it, there’s no excuse for not playing it. Hand of Fate an original concept done well, handles well and is a great example of how good an indie game can be. Hand of Fate is currently available on Steam for $24.99 USD, GOG.com for $24.89 AUD, the Playstation Store for $26.95, XBOX Store for $26.95 and the Humble Store for $24.99.