Fate is a funny concept; some of us swear by it, leaving our biggest decisions to the capricious notion, while others refuse to believe in it and try to take matters into their own hands. Whatever your opinions on fate may be, Half Past Fate, a rom-com adventure, will leave you feeling light hearted.
Half Past Fate is primarily a fetch based quest game. That allows you to explore each map thoroughly, interact with NPCs, the background and even plants! Each map is fairly small, and is linked to one of twelve chapters in the game, where you play as one of the six protagonists as you help fate match them into three happy couples; Rinden and Mara, Ana and Jaren, and Bia and Milo. The cast is diverse, in appearance, personality and identity; you’ll very likely find a character you identify with.
The story jumps back and forth between present day, and eight and a half years ago, which I’ll admit left me a little confused at first, but once I got into the gameplay didn’t impact things too much – other than trying to remember the various NPCs, and their connections to all of the characters. The NPCs play a huge role, with most of them knowing more than main character, and appearing in a number of chapters.
Fetch based quests, while a very common feature in most games, stand out here as it leaves Half Past Fate feeling like an interactive movie, rather than a game. It has a set linear path, that you have to follow, and can’t deviate from it at all. This allows for a fairly short game; it took me about two and a half hours from start to finish, although I will definitely be going back to earn a few extra trophies.
As someone that loves running around an open world map exploring every possible side quest before actually playing the main story, it felt a little weird only playing the main storyline. Despite this, the gameplay is incredibly simple, using only a few buttons, which was all explained in the first chapter, with a helpful but hardly noticeable tutorial. Throughout the game, a key remains at the bottom of the screen, reminding you in case you forget. The downside of the minimal interaction options means that any problem you are face within the game are fairly straightforward to solve, especially due to the small maps, at most being about three shops large.
Pixel based games will always have a special place in my heart, they take me back to growing up in the late 1990’s. Not only does the artwork have nostalgic qualities, but it really is beautiful; the 2D pixel artwork, alongside its soft, pastel colour palette makes it stand out against other games in the genre, which tend to have brighter, more saturated colour palettes. The score compliments the game really well too, with an upbeat, electronic, and almost jaunty backing track, adding to the light-hearted nature of the game. Subtle animation really brings this world to life, from the waves in the water, to Bia’s hair bouncing as she walks, to Chai’s happy wagging tail.
The tongue-in-cheek humour, which pokes fun at the genre and gameplay is unlike anything I’ve found in games before. It’s a mix of the traditional rom-com humour and a very postmodern Gen Z humour, dry but upbeat, and deeply refreshing throughout.