Press Start Review: Leap of Fate

I have been thinking about how to sum up this game in a review for the past couple days. Usually after playing something for a few hours I can form an ok opinion on it, and then after more time with it I only have to refine that… so obviously there’s a thing weird from the start. hm. let’s try again.

Leap of Fate is a hack and slash/roguelike with a storyline that is revealed as you complete missions. The style is very based in the cyberpunk/occult style. There are some RPG elements, as you can gain mana to buy new powers as you fight your way on various roof tops and libraries. There are four characters available to play, each with different powers, and you gain access to them through completing the aforementioned missions – tasks that you try to complete during gameplay. And right there is what I fully understood about the game. I played it for six whole hours – Steam told me so.

The reason why I’m so confused is because the game is all over the place. As a gamer I could learn most of what was going on through play, but if I didn’t have a background in this sort of thing I would be completely lost.

There is no manual, no menu option to explain different aspects of the game, the snippets of advice thrown in during loading screens are barely helpful, and the tutorial mission is threadbare. Every time something new happened I just threw up my hands and thought “whelp, it’s happening again.”

Not to say that once I found my rhythm it wasn’t fun; the mechanics of each character keep everything interesting, the different powers are fun to mix and match, and the random level generator doesn’t seem punishing like it does with other games of this type. I didn’t feel like I was going through the exact same generated room every time. I don’t really go in for roguelikes all that much, so this was a relief. It felt like rogue legacy in a way. The story and how the game was presented as a whole made the generated arenas make sense. And you can tell that the art, the story, the mechanics, and the voice acting were all made to work in sync. It definitely shows.

While I’m on the subject – the voice acting is honestly really good for an indie game. The actors they got for the parts really get into their roles. This is also something that is nice to see.

This review might sound like its bouncing back and forth on opinions, or that I’m trying to reach for good things to say… well that is because I was just in a constant haze of confusing the whole time. Why does this happen? Why are these guys moving like this? What does this power do again? Why are there little lightning bolts? I answered some of these questions three hours into playing the game. Hell maybe I missed the awesome tutorial levels somehow? But then a cut scene would happen and the story would distract me for a bit and then right back into the fighting.

The weirdest part is when I got to the last of the four playable characters… and then everything went bananas. The mechanics I spent hours figuring out went out the window. The way this guy could buy new powers, his special abilities, even the actual stuff he collected changed from mana to skulls for some reason? And he had some sort of meter to fill with said skulls? Nothing made sense anymore. My mind was in shambles. I am typing this from my hospital room.

Honestly, if this game weren’t so damn confusing at times I would rate this a buy. If at some point they add some sort of manual in the pause menu, a better tutorial, or someone coming over to tell me what the hell is going on would improve my disposition, but until then I would suggest only this if you loved roguelikes, steampunk and magic elements, and have a real and deep love of learning new things. Because you will, again and again.

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