Hand of Fate Review

Screenshot from Hand of Fate

Positively, every first game should be about cards. Every first project flourishes if it includes hundreds of different cards in some way or another (preferably collectible). Strategies need cards for units and buildings, quests need cards for random encounters and items, role-playing games need cards for everything in the world, races need cards for cars and parts, economic simulators need cards for managers and crises. And the more, the better.

As an example, look at how great everything turned out in Hand of Fate.

Another image from the game

In short, Hand of Fate is a mix of rogue-like, text-based adventure, simplified combat from Batman: Arkham Asylum, and solitaire. All of this is based on the aesthetics of fortune-telling cards.

The premise of HoF is simple: we attend a cunning spiritual session, and the local medium has their own clever system of magical games. Our host has mixed a gentleman’s set of tarot cards with a classic poker deck, a few boosters from Magic: the Gathering, and sprinkled it all with Monopoly chips for added fun. The result is something amazing.

The game is played with a marvelous deck of cards. First, the player constructs their deck of adventures – various random encounters, battles, and quests. These cards will serve as our game board. Then, we need to decide on a set of artifact cards in the deck as potential trophies. The medium, acting as the dealer, adds a few of their own cards to the deck, thoroughly shuffles the whole pile using telekinesis, and begins laying out the solitaire adventure.

The dealer also has a deck of money rewards, supplies, blessings, curses, monsters, and other life’s little things, from which we will need to draw various things as needed.

It sounds confusing, doesn’t it? That’s because, as is customary for mediums and fortune-tellers, the card extravaganza of Hand of Fate is a skillful illusion, a performance designed to give a fresh twist to our familiar dungeons, random battles, and treasure chests.

More gameplay action

Local solitaires are the same randomly generated locations-corridors-rooms. Instead of just entering another cave and taking another ordinary quest, we move the figure and, holding our breath, see which card will open to us this time. How much damage will we take if we fall into a trap? The computer could simply output some random number from the generator and display it on the screen, but that’s boring, let’s draw a card instead. Maybe we’ll get lucky and it will even be a lucky one! The number of monsters in the next crypt, again, is now decided right before our eyes burning with card excitement. This does not cancel the power of the notorious random number generator, but this time we are given the pleasure of pulling the lever of the slot machine ourselves.

After drawing another card, Hand of Fate starts working according to classic schemes. Combat tasks are solved by fights from a third-person perspective a la Batman: Arkham in arenas of different sizes and compositions. The local combat does not shine with special variety, but it doesn’t get boring quickly either. Especially since you won’t be able to fight the most serious monsters right away.

And of course, instead of just reaching the next boss or upgraded ordinary enemies, you must collect their cards. Similarly, you won’t just get unusual weapons in your hands for nothing. And there won’t be any particularly grand encounters. The main temptation of Hand of Fate – at least at first, until you get a taste of these endless adventures – is to acquire all the cards at your disposal. Here, another thrill works at full throttle, named Gotta catch ’em all. You want to examine all the drawings, listen to all the dealer’s comments, try every first card in action.

A different encounter in Hand of Fate

Well, cards are earned, of course, by playing well. A healthy portion of cards is dealt for completing “story” games with a mandatory boss at the end of the solitaire. Some cards just come across your path and are automatically added to the collection. And many more cards are unlocked after successfully playing other cards.

Oh, and until you play a new card in a game, you won’t know what it does.

You can easily spend fifteen hours or more on collecting and tasting. And if by that time the Hand of Fate games are not satisfied, you can indulge in munchkinism in endless adventure mode, where the dealer will lay out solitaire after solitaire, increasing the stakes each time.

An image showing the card-based gameplay

HoF – a wonderful rogue-like, managing to present familiar game elements from an unusual angle. It’s amazing how the developers managed to seamlessly weave their mechanics with the aesthetics of fortune-telling cards, without stumbling anywhere in a big way.

All fans of endless role-playing adventures, and even just lovers of good games, should definitely get Hand of Fate without hesitation.

Hand of Fate
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Adventure, RPG, Indie
Defiant Development
Defiant Development
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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