An unscrupulous man finds himself deceased, and in the power of a goddess he has slighted. He demands to bargain for his soul. She chooses the game.
Follow him as he searches the space/time of the fantasy world of Hiermont, experience reincarnation after reincarnation into the lives of others, searching for his final Fate.
This game is organized around a central puzzle, and twenty five short stories. Each short story has two parts. Solving the puzzle will involve encountering five "first halves" of the stories, each representing one of the Five Fates the protagonist might earn in his game. Solving the puzzle successfully unlocks a final ending- the latter half of one of the short stories. The puzzle itself is a genuine pen and paper puzzle of my own design. You will probably need a pen and paper to complete it. If you are searching for all possible endings, you may wish to track which ones you've found, as there are 25 in total.
Many stories may be extremely sexually explicit. A few barely merit an R rating.
The downloadable version of the game comes with a tutorial example.
I have to say I didn't want to play this game initially. The concept wasn't appealing to me. "Meh, a puzzle and a couple of stories", I thought. But after seeing Joe's other works and reading somewhere on the forums how disappointed he was with reception of Five Fates, I decided to check it out.
I actually really enjoyed it! The puzzle itself is quite fun, and the writing is great as usual for Joe. While yes it is indeed "a couple of stories" in the same setting, the stories themselves are varied and fun. I replayed the game a bunch of times trying to get the ending for the ones I enjoyed the most, all the while discovering new ones.
I did notice some mistakes like using "you're" instead of your, but those were really rare. Didn't think to write down locations of the ones I noticed.
I wish there was an option to pick the fifth Fate from the ones you saw already, getting the end story that you saw already while hunting for that one ending that you are really interested can be a bit frustrating.
Overall, if you like puzzles you should check it out. If you like reading you definetely should check it out. If you are looking more for a game than for a story- this is a miss. The only part that makes Five Fates a game is one single (albeit interesting) puzzle.
Let's be honest - this is more bunch of fantasy erotic stories, then actual game. But it seems like that was an intention so I don't feel like it's a bad thing. And the stories are actually great! Very well written, humourous, yet still not overly silly, both characters and situations are believable and interesting, world is interesting too and last but not least I see a lot of redacting work behind it. Author has a lot of great ideas and a lot of talent, too. I'm really looking forward to see other games or even just stories from them.
Only thing I would change, if I could would be system of the central puzzle. Giving ten clues at the start seems like a little bit random and can make game overly easy or overly difficult due to randomness. Maybe it would work better to not give any clues at the start and just give player (much) more crystals so they might use some actual strategy when choosing which areas of puzzle to get clues to. It would also add to "gaming" ascpect of the game, I believe.
Catching up on incomplete older reviews. I quite enjoyed where this game finished up with the story being told well given all the branching elements that you come across before you hit the final result.
Yes, the puzzle is still fiendish. But with a bit of trial-and-error it's still not too difficult to get through.
The puzzle can be a bit fiendish, but if you have a pen and paper handy or keep MS Paint open to draw on the map image, it's not too difficult. Think Minesweeper with harsh "no quick-save" penalty to get out of your mistake.
Story-wise, it's already been said that there's the main tale and little side tales to go with it: all of them are interesting and written well from the 14 seen at the time of this review (v0.60). I'm glad the programming has been fixed up on the incomplete ones now so it still allows a beta tester to finish the story arc without it bugging out through a missed sequence.
All in all it's worth a go. Just be prepared for the puzzle as this isn't a quick-pay-off game.
The stories are quite good but the puzzle really makes you work hard to get to them. After solving two of them I just gave up and extracted everything out of the raw HTML. Also, I think this game should really be called Twenty Five fates.
+ Well written and humorous
+ Great, vividly realized characters (I got the elf princess & orc ending, no regrets)
+ Fun logic puzzle (for those of you who enjoy logic puzzles). It's not too difficult if you're familiar with Sudokus or Minesweeper. (I may have got lucky—I required only one additional hint to solve it)
- Solving the logic puzzle requires either pen and paper or a virtual notepad of some kind.
- The game is not interactive fiction, rather, it's just a series of sexy vignettes unlocked by solving a logic puzzle.
- The fantasy setting is very derivative. It reads like World of Warcraft fan fiction. (If you are a fan of World of Warcraft, consider this a plus)