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I have probably said it once, and I will probably say it again, making an indie game that stands out is hard. Just like the big budget industry, the indie scene has fluctuations of what is popular. For example, games with roguelike elements, first-person horror elements, survival elements, 4-player multiplayer elements, games with no real combat, and games that are downright hard are all the rage. There is definitely no shortage of those types of games, and sometimes, they can be great. However, more or less, what happens is we get the experiences listed above that are either not fleshed out or are quickly forgotten for the next big game in that genre. That is why Spearhead Games’ Stories: The Path of Destinies caught my eye. It was an isometric action game with a choose-your-own-adventure-style story. I just got done beating it and, well, I wanted to review it! Let’s get started!
The plot revolves around a dashing fox named Reynaldo, who recently obtained a mysterious book. As he travels through the land trying to stop an impending war caused by a king, he keeps finding out about the truths to an ultimate ending to the overall conflict. The story itself is simple, and the characters that you encounter are small, but they make up for it in being diverse. I wish there was a little bit more to this world that we could explore in terms of story, but I do love the narrator that tells the entire story and voices all of the characters. It reminds me of a good book on tape.
Paths is an isometric action game where you will be exploring massive levels with branching paths and secret areas to get to where you need to go. The combat is handled in the same way as the Batman Arkham games, where the combat is fluid and you pull off simple combos. You can dash out of attacks, slow down time, and counter enemy attacks. You will be able to use four different swords, each of which has its own ability, like regaining health, freezing enemies, or being faster in movement in battles. You will go through five levels, but at the end, you will find a truth and one of the 24 endings. Once you find the four truths, you can go through a correct path and find out what to exactly do to make sure you survive in the end. The game isn’t really long, at about six hours, but if you want to do complete every ending that is given to you, it will take you a bit longer than that.
Personally, I love the colorful cartoon-style graphics. It makes the game stand out, and reminds me of something in the same vein as Redwall, Mouse Guard, the upcoming Ghost of a Tale, and even Tailspin with its fantasy setting and humanized animal characters. The music has its sweeping moments, but it is mostly there to be ambient and to engross you into its beautiful world. The voice acting, like I said, is very charming. Everyone is voiced by the narrator, and it feels like a good children’s book or book on tape.
The biggest criticism that I can give this game is that it’s sadly repetitive in terms of combat. The enemy variety is not large, and there needed to be some more enemy types or bosses to spice things up. It makes going through the game a tad tedious, since the combat obviously has a simple, but deep system, but not enough enemies or any bosses to make it seem worthwhile. I also found some slowdown, but it wasn’t often.
Even with the repetitive combat, Stories: The Path of Destinies is a great game and easily one of my favorites of the year, with the charm and unique setting. It’s on PlayStation 4 and PC right now, and if you love action games with a bit of personality, then you should definitely play this game, or at the very least, buy it when it’s cheap. I was pretty impressed by this game, and I hope the developers can do a sequel or maybe expand on the world that this game takes place in. Check it out and immerse yourself with some fun!
This game gets a 9 out of 10.