Score: 8 out of 10
My first thought after hearing the title Hand of Fate was, “they made a Manos Hands of Fate video game?” Nope. Instead, Defiant Development’s Hand of Fate is a card building, tabletop Dungeons and Dragons, with a smeckering of action game tossed in the pot. Is smerckering a cooking term; well it is now.
The whole end goal of Hand Of Fate is to beat the dealer or Dungeon Master, if you will. To do so you have to defeat twelve of his champions. The twelve champions are found at the end of their “dungeons”. Now when I say “dungeon” is more like a path of encounter cards that the dealer lays out. This encounter cards could be anything from an ambush of enemies, to a elven maiden can increase your max health or give you food, to a poorly disguised goblin who chats you up at a tavern looking for food. That’s the Dungeons and Dragons-y part. While the cards may just say ‘Maiden’ there’s text that tells you the story of your journey.
The deck building part deals with the encounter cards and equipment cards. Before starting each dungeon you can choose, our have the game choose, the cards that might appear on your travels. So if you didn’t like that the ‘Devil’s Choice’ card ask you to pick from three different enemy cards you want to fight only to have you fight the other two instead you can trade that card out for a different one. Some cards unfortunately are locked and can’t be traded out. How you get new cards you ask? In order to get new cards you have to collect tokens. You get tokens from completing certain tasks on certain cards. For boss cards its always just defeat the boss, other times it could be to pick the correct dialog choice, or from picking the correct card from the four card shuffle that some choice have. The cards that earn you tokens have a little token symbol at that bottom, plus you see the dealer reach into his pot of tokens and sites you how many are on the line. As long as you earn the token you can unlock 1 – 6 new cards, whether you beat the dungeon or not.
By this point you’re asking, “how do you defeat a boss? What’s the combat like? Where’s my Quesada?” Chill I’ll tell you about the combat, but as for the Quesada I’m wondering that too. When you enter combat, it becomes and action game. You run around a small area, which is random almost every time. Sometimes traps appear and sometimes they don’t. You can button mash the attack button (X button) and when a green symbol, which looks like Spidey’s Spider Sense, and you have a shield you can dodge and counter attack (Y button). The combat may feel familiar if you’ve played a certain series of games starring a certain flying rodent. You can also equip artifacts that can give you the ability to shoot throwing knives in all directions or freeze enemies for a short time, just to name a few. You equipment can have special stat boosts on them like a certain helmet can raise your speed or a pair of gloves that can poison.
There are two modes of play. One is story mode, in which you travel along 3 or more dungeon paths and fight the champion at the end. The other is endless mode, which just that you play until you die and you get scored. According to Mr. Dealer-man “it’s the true way to play the game”. During endless mode you are more likely to come across side quests. Side quest are cards that you can come across that, if you accept it, will change a random discovered card to the, let’s call it, goal card. One time I came across one and it was the Angry Wife card and she wanted me to go fetch her husband at the tavern. Turns out her husband was the Jack of Dust, who’s the first champion you fight in story mode. Luck was not on my side in choosing from the success and failure cards and I had to fight him. You can watch all that in the video above.
This is a really fun game and I recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy and tabletop games.
*Code Supplied by Publisher*