The ‘Hand of Fate’ game from Defiant Development blends roguelike, deck-building, hack-and-slash, and tabletop elements for an extraordinarily unique journey.
Blending genres doesn’t always work out in a game’s favor. Thankfully, that’s not true of Defiant Development’s Hand of Fate game, a nearly seamless blend of roguelike ideals, deck-building elements, hack-and-slash RPG gameplay, and the randomness and storytelling aspects of tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons. Labeling the Hand of Fate game with any one of these genres would be to do it a disservice, as it spices up the low points of each genre with aspects from the others, making it a game that is unique to itself. Though it stumbles a bit through genre trappings and occasionally clunky combat, overall Hand of Fate is an excellent genre-bending game with a high degree of challenge and replayability and lots to explore beyond the game’s initial premise.
Hand of Fate Game Turns Cards Into Actual Weapons
Though deck-building games are seeing some popularity growth thanks to Hearthstone, for some players the pleasure of a well-made deck just isn’t enough. For those people, there’s this Hand of Fate game. All the deck-building elements are there, but for those who find weighing one card against another to be tedious and stressful, there’s a recommended deck option that will let the computer choose what cards will work best.
Better yet, this isn’t just a game of flipping cards to beat your opponent. Hand of Fate features an actual combat mode, where your character fights off enemies using the equipment and abilities you gain by collecting cards. The difference in equipment is substantial, too—when you upgrade your movement speed or gain a new ability, the combat really feels different. Hacking away with a sword feels different than swinging a hammer, and as combat grows more complicated with enemies growing stronger, you have to try new approaches to defeat your enemies.
The mode isn’t perfect, though. It’s a lot of repetitive clicking and countering that sometimes takes away from the fun of exploring and encountering random events. It can also be a little more graphics intensive than lower-end computers can handle, leading to some distracting or game-breaking graphic errors. While that’s to be expected from a resource-intensive game, it might catch some people in it for the deck-building aspect by surprise—be sure to check your computer specifications with the hardware recommendations to ensure the game will run on your computer.
Solid Deck-Building Makes Hand of Fate Game Highly Replayable
Where the combat might stumble on occasion, the Hand of Fate game excels in deck-building. There are a huge number of cards to unlock through completing challenges, fighting bosses, and purchasing at in-game merchants, letting you customize your equipment as you see fit.
Your opponent—generally referred to as the mysterious Dealer—also has a few tricks up his sleeve. As your deck improves, so does his. Every move you make forward is one he responds to, meaning that your deck is unlikely to ever become truly overpowered. Skill and collecting cards will make you a formidable opponent, but the dealer is unlikely to let you win just thanks to the time you’ve put in; beating the Hand of Fate game takes more than just a solid deck, as the game’s modes combine to test your skills in a variety of arenas.
And if the constant improvements aren’t enough, there are also a variety of game modes to explore. By implementing new rules—turning all spare equipment into gold or food, for instance—you’re able to turn the main gameplay into an entirely new experience. The diversity of approaches means the game has enormous replayability as you push yourself harder, making it well worth the $24.99 price point.
Hand of Fate Game Rolls the Dice For Tabletop Inspiration
Tabletop games are the foundation for some of our favorite video games, but anybody who has ever had a lazy or unconvincing dungeon master knows that the fun of random encounters and unpredictability can be ruined by a lack of convincing description or visuals. Hand of Fate takes that to heart, using card shuffling to replace dice rolls and choices in encounters to offer you rewards.
The Dealer, too, plays an important tabletop role—he doesn’t play a passive dealer like Hearthstone‘s single-player Innkeeper. He taunts you, chastises you, and admires your tactics in equal measure, making the game feel like an actual tabletop game. With a huge bank of quips and comments, the Dealer drops interesting hints about a story going on outside of the story told by the cards, making you questions who he is, who your character is, and why you’re playing this game in the first place.
Defiant Development’s Hand of Fate game is not without flaws, but the sheer innovation dwarfs them easily. For anybody who wants a deck-building game with more story, a tabletop game with impressive visuals, or a hack-and-slash RPG with a little extra, Hand of Fate is an excellent choice.
Hand of Fate is available now via Steam, the Humble Bundle shop, and GOG.com for $24.99.