Richard wakes up in a dream. Or is it a nightmare? He lost his memory and attempts to figure out what is going on in the strange world he now roams. In Unknown Fate, there are plenty of characters that seem to know Richard, but he has no clue who or what they are. They also don’t give out too much information, creating the backdrop of a mystery. Much like a nightmare or a dream, everything around him are memories or at least figments of his imagination. Do they mean anything? There are a lot of simple puzzles he must face to piece together his mind while he wonders around. He gains abilities from an artifact that evolves throughout game progression. Much like the character you control, you won’t know what is going on. It’s like an alternate reality created by lost memories in a dream world. Seems intriguing, right?
Here’s what I liked:
Visual Delight — The world within Unknown Fate is a twisted one. Literally, areas are twisted in weird ways that make you feel like you’re in the movie Inception. Along with the structural design, which is quite remarkable, there are creatures that defy reality. It appears as if they’re made with parts from the structures within the world. Sometimes you don’t realize it’s a creature until it moves. There are a lot of “wow” moments that look inspired by something straight out of Pan’s Labyrinth. I mention the movies because it’s actually pretty hard to explain just how different these designs are. They’re creative and I can only imagine how neat it would look in VR.
Mixing of Genres — While at first seemingly another walking sim with a confusing story, you’re taken down a journey of platforming and puzzle solving. There is a little combat thrown in as well, defeating enemies with the relic that also serves to help you with the puzzles. Again, this probably is a bit more entertaining in VR but works just fine as a whole. Fighting enemies was a break from the traveling. I don’t condone violence, but I insist I get a taste of it in anything I play.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Interacting with Puzzles — With such a heavy focus on utilizing your artifact to manipulate platforms, I had become less interested in continuing on. There are some horrible sections where you fight with the rotating platforms so that you can jump on them. You’ll find yourself giving up and just jump on them at odd angles having to move forward as you slide slowly. I just despised them. Every time I came to a section I got discouraged. It isn’t insanely difficult, just downright annoying. I didn’t have any fun. Oh look, a flower-shaped thing, again, that I have to flash with my artifact then rotate them. It just suddenly became kind of a theme in the last half of the game. It felt all kinds of sloppy.
Jumping and Stumbling — The platforming portions need some serious work. It’s not smooth at all when jumping, and sometimes leaping over a small bump can be challenging. There are also sections you can’t pass or move objects into. Suddenly you just get stuck, with some kind of invisible wall blocking your path. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me with some places being wide open yet impassable. Usually there would be a fence or at least something to let you know you couldn’t progress. You just learn the hard way here, learning as you go that you can’t explore as much as you’d like to.
Waste of Space — The world you’re in seems huge. However, there are lots of places that are void of anything redeemable. You can’t really get too lost, but an interesting object in the world can seem important but has no importance. If there were more collectibles it might have been more fun to run around every nook and cranny. There are a few but not as many as you would think should
Usually, a game will get better as you play it. Instead, as the story here unfolds and you gain more abilities, it just gets worse. In fact, the most disappointing power is the last one to obtain. You only get to use it briefly. It slows down quick moving objects. Why wasn’t this just implemented right away? Even with bad design, I absolutely loved the theme and the atmosphere. At first, it was an eerie nightmare I got excited to become entrapped in. Things start becoming much brighter and the mood is suddenly less appealing. The music even changes (it’s pretty decent though). I quickly began to lose interest because the story never really plays out well. I had some guesses and then it gets even more confusing by the end. It’s even left open for the possibility of a sequel. So the title stays true; it is indeed unknown.
Score: Limited Appeal
Unknown Fate was published and developed by MarsLit Games Srl on Xbox One. It was released on April 24, 2019, for $14.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.