Forget everything you know about so-called “casual games.”
One of the most talked-about games these days isn’t another card solitaire game, Bejeweled knock-off or Sudoku puzzler. It’s an epic role-playing game (RPG) that whisks players away to a faraway land fraught with danger and intrigue.
Introducing Fate, a point-and-click fantasy romp worth sinking your mouse into.
Played from a “isometric” perspective, a slightly angled top-down 3-D view that lets you see your custom-made character and loyal dog or cat, Fate is a traditional RPG not unlike the once-popular action-heavy Diablo. You start off in a small town and are told of a great evil that lurks underground in subterranean dungeons. You accept the mission to seek out this malicious force, and take on a few dozen other sub-quests for various townsfolk, which may involve defeating other threats or retrieving lost items. You set out on this lengthy journey – to decide your fate — into the underground abyss with basic hack-and-slash skills but over time and experience you are awarded points used to upgrade your attributes. That is, fight enough baddies and you’ll see a small Level Up icon appear on the screen which means you can pause the game to decide how to spend these points on your character.
Along with the ability to beef up your strength, dexterity, vitality or magic, the player also has points to spend for upgrading up to 15 weapon skills including crossbows, swords, maces, axes, and so forth.
As with many other RPGs, you must also find objects for your characters, such as new weapons, armor, apparel, potions, magic scrolls and so forth. You can outfit your character with these items (if you possess the skill level required for it) or if you run out of space, your faithful companion can carry excess items for you (your sidekick also helps you in battle, by the way). Once you get back to town you can sell unwanted gear at a store or use your found gold to pick up better items.
Combat is handled by simply left-mouse clicking on an enemy and your character does the rest, be it slash them with a long sword or unleash a nasty fire spell from a distance. Monsters range from giant rats, flying bats and deadly blobs to mushroom-headed gnomes and much bigger and weirder beasts. In total, the game offers more than 100 different kinds of monsters.
If you start to suffer during a lengthy battle you can drink a health potion by right-mouse clicking on the applicable icon at the bottom off the screen. Should you parish, you will have choices such as restart the game in the same place but with your experience points slashed in half or you can restart the game elsewhere on the map but with full experience, and so on. Because you just don’t “die,” casual games will find Fate more accessible than other RPGs.
Graphics and sounds are so-so, but players can opt to download a free Enhanced Media Upgrade pack from PlayFate.com that provides better-quality graphics and audio. Other bonuses are also free to download, including additional weapons, armor and new monsters.
Kudos to WildTangent for publishing a non-traditional “casual” game that not only offers tens of hours of fantasy role-playing enjoyment, but for creating a product that should appeal to both novice players and hardcore gaming enthusiasts alike.