On the outside, Hand of Fate appears to be the same as any other generic card game. A simple flip’em over distraction to keep the player moving. On the inside though, Hand of Fate takes chances and pulls off so many things that it can only be classified as a strategic rogue-like action RPG.
The majority of the game is focused around your constantly evolving deck of cards as you plummet through dozens of mini dungeons. While you have the option to auto build your deck, the majority of decisions are up to you. This has the ability to create unique situations as some card choices can become completely dependent upon each other. Others have the potential to place you in a very precarious situation.
If you can progress to the end of the dungeon, a unique boss awaits the player and you will be rewarded with new gear and cards upon their defeat. This doesn’t mean they wont become a hassle later in the game either though. Fortunately, the combat system is fun, simple and surprising. The equipment you receive can be damaging and could ultimately become a lifesaver in certain situations, thanks to the abilities such as refilling your health in entirety.
If you perished during an encounter or failed against the dungeon’s boss, there is no reason to worry. Certain cards produce tokens upon completing their particular criteria. Once you either pass or fail a dungeon, you will still receive these tokens regardless. This ensures the player is constantly moving forward since these tokens eventually develop into cards once the dungeon is fully resolved.
With a diverse selection of items and weapons, it only makes sense that the player would have to make full use of an item management system as well. Not only does the weaponry play a role, but you also have to take into account food and gold. While gold holds the simple value of trade, it can also become a burden if the player were to pick up a cure card. In one instance, I would lose health every 5th step dependent on the amount of gold I had.
Hand of Fate is one of those weird games that come a long and try to do a lot of different things all together at once. Throwing in a simple item management and a ton of smaller stories may seem like too much at once, but it’s actually done very well and deserves a top spot.