One part board game, one part collectible card game, and one part computer role playing game, Hand of Fate is a witch’s brew concocted by Australian based developer Defiant Development who tossed all of these ingredients into a cauldron and ended up with a game that is as entertaining as it is addictive. It is also one of the most unique games I have played in a very long time.
In Hand of Fate you begin your adventure with a basic deck of cards that you will add to and modify as you complete special encounters and earn tokens. The dealer uses your deck to layout cards and create a board for you to play on in a roguelike fashion. The cards are a mash up of tarot cards and a basic deck of 52 playing cards. As you advance across the board you will turn the cards and face whatever encounter they present.
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These encounters can be beneficial such as a traveling merchant or they can present you with a challenge. Not all challenge cards are based upon combat, but many can devolve to that.
In order to successfully complete a boss challenge you will have to navigate through the stage and manage your three resources; health, food, and gold. Each time you make a move from one card to the next you will consume one food and gain five life. Barring that you don’t have a curse or a boon cast upon you. You can replenish your life, gold, and health from gain cards that you can receive after successfully completing encounter cards. You can also buy food and health from traveling merchant cards. You lose life during encounters such as combat or navigating a maze of traps.
Some of the different encounters you will undertake in Hand of Fate are the Maze of Traps. In this encounter you will try and run through a maze that has a number of different traps in it (it’s not just a clever name) and reach the treasure chest at the end without dying. Upon successful completion you will be rewarded with a gain card that could give you food, gold, health, or a piece of equipment. The Twisted Canyon asks if you would like to try and navigate to the bottom of a canyon and try and recover a piece of equipment that is on a fallen adventurer. You can choose to carry on and and do nothing or you can attempt to recover the item. If you choose to recover the item the dealer will then show you four cards face up. Based on the difficulty of the canyon the cards can be a success or a failure. The dealer then turns the cards face down and shuffles them. You then choose one of the cards and find out if you were able to recover the item or not. If you fail you will lose some health for your effort. For the Devil’s Choice the dealer will present you with three cards that represent enemies that you have to fight. You get to pick one of the three cards. The dealer will then choose whether you fight the card you picked or fight the remaining two cards worth of enemies. You can earn tokens for completing special encounters and defeating the boss at the end of each level.
Once you finally make it to the boss encounter you will fight them and their lackeys. These encounters never really seemed too challenging. After you kill the boss, or die trying, you will open up the tokens that you collected while traversing the stage. Even if you die before you make it to the boss card you will be able to open the tokens you collected up until the point you died. These tokens provide you with booster cards for your deck. If you are unable to make it to the boss hopefully they will strengthen your deck so that you can make it on a follow up run.
If you are looking for a roguelike game with a twist it is hard to go wrong with Hand of Fate. Defiant Development takes a classic standard and puts its own stamp on it with the addition of a collectible card game element. This makes the game a refreshing experience that fans of RPG, CCG, and roguelikes can each enjoy.
- GAMEPLAY: 9 – Unique game play sets this title apart from the pack. Build your deck and play through the level it creates to challenge the boss at the end.
- VISUALS AND SOUND: 8 – The art and style is nice but the graphics could use a little more polish.
- POLISH: 8 – I ran into a few bugs that required me to reset the game but nothing game breaking that required a rollback. The game has an autosave feature that let me pick back up where I left off, minus the glitch.
- LONGEVITY: 9 – Multiple deck builds and two gameplay modes,story and endless play, provide high replayability and longevity.
- VALUE: 9 – $24.99 is a great price for this quality title.