Game Review: Hand of Fate (Xbox One)

hand_of_fateHand of Fate is an interesting card game/action-RPG where you must traverse a ‘dungeon’ of cards, each of which modifies your game in some way.

This is a pretty unique game. The basic way it plays is that the dealer places a series of cards on the table, you then decide which direction to move your player piece, and each card you move onto is flipped over and revealed. These cards can range from giving you upgrades (gold, food, blessings, etc.) to causing you trouble (monsters, curses, games of chance, etc.).

Sometimes you don't get a choice of what card comes next. Sometimes it is up to you to choose.

Sometimes you don’t get a choice of what card comes next. Sometimes it is up to you to choose.

Certain cards like monster encounters or shops cause the game to morph into a 3D third person perspective. In the case of a monster encounter all of your equipment cards are then applied in real time to your 3D character and you can watch his armour and weapons change. It is a neat little effect but one you wish you could skip over even more quickly than the game lets you once you’ve seen it a couple of dozen times.

Battles take on a different perspective and are basically just timed button mashers.

Battles take on a different perspective and are basically just timed button mashers.

While Hand of Fate is quite a different game than you might be used to playing I can’t help but feel it never quite lives up to its potential. All of the battles are basically just timed button mashers and your in-game success is largely dependent on the randomized layout of the cards you encounter. This can cause the game to feel wildly unbalanced, often unfair and, well, random.

For instance I once played a very quick round (before dying) where every card I hit was either another monster encounter or another curse. To make matters worse this particular level decided to start me with some curses as well and so before I even had a chance to do anything I was already dead. Rounds like this force you to lose because there is nothing you can do as a player to have the outcome change.

Even with its negatives however I still think Hand of Fate is worth at least trying out. I found myself having quite a bit of fun with the easier levels and if this happens to be your kind of game you could easily waste a few hours on it before it truly becomes frustrating.

My review: Mediocre
Pick it up for: Cheap
GameRankings.com score: 79.75%
Metacritic score: 80 / 100
Wikipedia Link

See more games I’ve written about here.

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