Sitting amongst a row of columns opposite a hooded man, you get the feeling this game will be more deadly than your average game of snap. The hooded man speaks and cards fly up in the air, scattering and dancing in the candlelight, you are introduced to the game that risks your very life to play and gives deadly meaning to playing the hand you’re dealt.
Published and developed by Defiant Development, Hand of fate is a hybrid Action RPG mixed with a build-your-own adventure card game. The mix is actually one that works extremely well.
Starting story mode you get two options, start game and deck builder. Deck builder allows you to add in powerful weapon cards and choose from a variety of different encounters. Playing these encounters in game and defeating the requirements unlocks a token, which then adds more cards to your deck. The cards are placed on the table, sometimes a path and other times scattered around. Your goal is to find the exit until you come to the set of cards where the boss is hidden. Progressing across the cards costs food or gold, which can either be earned through different encounters.
Developer: Defiant Development
Publisher: Defiant Development
Release Date: 18 February 2015
Price: £15:99 [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Developer/Publisher]
What’s interesting about this game is one moment everything can be going your way then you land on a card which devastates you and everything changes sometimes even causing you to lose and have to start the whole process over. Encounters vary between sacrificing food for a blessing which gives you various advantages such as double health and being able to re-choose a success or failure card, sorting out a couples love affairs and getting bitten by a vampire, allowing him to suck your blood losing 10 health but gaining gold.
When you encounter enemies, that’s when things really come to life. You’re transported to an arena where you fight and avoid traps. Combat is your basic attack, counter and dodge. Your shield allows you to reflect projectiles back at your foes killing them. Combat is sometimes quite tough depending on your luck so far in the game. If you’ve landed on an encounter you can’t handle and try to flee, four cards will come up sometimes the majority being failure and sometimes success. Things can be made worse by landing on Huge Failure or better with Huge Success. These four cards come up quite frequently during your travels. They start facing you then turn and shuffle across the screen, the difficulty in tracking their movement increases as you progress further in the game.
Once you have defeated four bosses, you’ll gain benefits and a stronger starting character. The amount of cards and floors before you reach the boss increases and in turn the enemies overall toughness increases. You’ll also gain more curses which can seriously restrict your actions and draws you pain cards for every four or so moves you make. Making the need to find the exit or the boss card more urgent.
Once you are done with story mode you can try your luck at Endless mode, earning score the further you get. Allowing you to clean up and unlock any tokens you missed during story play.
Overall Hand of Fate was an enjoyable experience. Having to rely on luck kept me on edge throughout not knowing what I would land on, and trying to prepare for misfortune was exciting. The way combat is mixed with cards is unique and interesting and endless mode allows for replayability after the story is done. The variety of the encounters was enough that each game could be different than the last.