Fate of Kai is a comic book story set in a Choose Your Own Adventure type world, but instead of selecting what the characters do, you are manipulating how the characters think. While the graphics are beautiful and the puzzles and challenges can be fun, this short game will be sure to test your patience. In this Fate of Kai review, we will let you know if this game is worth the struggle, as the game is heavy in both pros and cons to playing. Get ready to make up your own mind up, or shall we do it with some action manipulation bubbles?
At only an hour’s worth of gameplay, Fate of Kai is a quick romp through a Choose Your Own Adventure-style story where a young man must overcome obstacles and fight his way to the end of the story with a mysterious treasure chest shackled to his wrist. Along the way, you will encounter characters whose thoughts can be seen clear as day, and pretty easy to steal! You will want to collect those thought actions to complete tasks, create passageways and get yourself out of sticky situations. The concept that Fate of Kai has created is amazing, interesting, and fun, but unfortunately, the execution just doesn’t make for the best gameplay.
Within the pages of the comic, you will challenge yourself with thought actions to advance the story, but there are other small options that let you change how the story will go. There are a few moments where you can time travel into the past and set up an encounter for the future, or to even choose to knock over a glass to create a window of opportunity. These little additions add to the story and give Fate of Kai a great concept. The amazing art, smooth transitions, and light music all give the game an amazing appeal. Unfortunately, those details are buried in a game that has a lackluster and unappealing story, frustrating puzzles, and a linear story with no engagement outside of the singular story arc.
Meeting Your End
Within the story, if you fail to use the proper action, you will be met with a hard black page that tells you how you failed. It gives you a clue of how to proceed with the story and allows you to move back to the story and retry your steps. While this is a nice concept to not fail the game, Fate of Kai basically makes you take the proper steps and there is no real sense of accomplishment in doing so. If you pick the wrong option, you are told how to do the right one instead of being able to figure it out. While there is only one encounter where this step is difficult in making sure you set up a four-action chain correctly, everything else is bluntly thrown in your face. It doesn’t leave it satisfying when you have figured out a tough puzzle, as it is more an ease to the frustration of the game then the delight of carrying on.
While the dead ends may throw the answers in your face, other parts are the story are so incredibly frustrating to figure out, it can make you scream. There are moments where you can be lost in a forest and click through hundreds of pages, returning to the beginning over and over if you don’t figure out the puzzle, or an answer can be many page turns into a scene, even when the scene looks like it is just repeating over and over. There has been a mouse or two smashed in the name of science while trying to make it to the end of Fate of Kai. While some of the puzzles can be difficult, there is a difference between a challenge and a struggling attempt to advance the story.
A Fun Concept
Fate of Kai does have its moments where its challenges are amazing though and figuring out the puzzles while repeating pages does have its rewards. Some encounters that you may reach on the sides of your storyline are funny, bewildering, or downright clever. While the better puzzles don’t really outweigh the frustration of the annoying ones, it was exciting to see what random story bite you got from giving someone a silly prompt, if the story let you proceed with it. Some actions had strict dead ends where you could not turn the page if the wrong action were in place, but some places had multiple scenes depending on which action you chose. There are also several hidden achievements you can earn if you figure out mini side puzzles and have certain characters play out actions outside the linear story line, as well as a mini game or two that will reward you as well.
In the end, Fate of Kai isn’t currently worth it at its current price point of $11.99 USD on Steam with only an hour’s worth of gameplay and no replayability, but the concept is exciting and fresh. Hopefully, in the future, there can be more games styled after Fate of Kai and really get a handle on an exciting story and a satisfying puzzle system. Until then, we will have to scratch that itch with this Fate of Kai review!