The premise of the game is that each level is generated by way of a deck. Half of the cards have been added by you and the other half by your mysterious opponent. Each level consists of traveling down a path of randomly chosen cards, turning each card over reveals the cards nature. Some cards give you weapons or armour, others will activate a combat event or a dangerous situation. Each card you turn gets you closer to fighting the big bad guy at the end of the level. Successfully completing the level will unlock more cards that you can use in the next level.
So as you can probably guess, in Hand of Fate the creation of your deck is important. You have way more cards than you can use each level so it’s important to choose your cards well. Saying that though, if you really can’t be bothered with all that and you just want to get down into the rpg goodness, there is a button you can click to get your cards chosen automatically. Oh, but you should always make sure you add the Mister Lionel card, so you can get a shield. Trust me, combat is so much easier if you do have a shield.
Speaking of combat, you won’t get through any level without having to fight some of many different types of monster and general naughty people. The combat itself is quite basic and once you get a shield it becomes very similar to the combat in Batman Arkham Asylum, giving you a method of deflecting blows and oncoming attacks by pressing the Q key. It’s not that combat is impossible without a shield but you do need to worry about your health more.
Hmmm what else? Aha, well let’s talk about your gear. Unlike standard rpg’s you don’t equip your character before you set out. Rather you become better equipped as you continue through the cards. The items that are available to equip are added to the cards, but if and when you get to equip them is entirely in the hands of fate… or at least the computer coding that dictates fate.
Health is finite, as is food. Each time you move to a new card it costs you one food, and you won’t have enough starting food to get all the way to the end. Some cards force you to choose which is most important to you health or food.
On a basic level that is all there is to the game, but I don’t want to be accused of over simplifying. I was kinda surprised at just how much ‘one more go’ it had. I wanted to stop and found that I went through two more levels before I did.
If I had any complaints at all, which I do after all it is my job. There isn’t much customisation of your character. There is one character and although his appearance changes depending on the gear you equip and the weapons you swing, there aren’t any other ways of changing his appearance.
It’s not this year’s blockbuster ‘must queue up for hours at midnight to purchase a copy’ type of game but it is an enjoyable enough romp. The random nature of the deck provides a level of risk and surprise not usually encountered in games. Usually, once you play through a game you know of the surprises and plot, but the random nature here should keep you guessing for a little while longer.