With nothing to do, I decided to go into the eShop. My mission was trying to find my next review. That’s when I stumbled upon Half Past Fate, a game I hadn’t heard anything about. What attracted me to it initially was the aesthetic. As I read the description, it’s heavy reliance on story sold it to me and my inner author demanded it. I had to review this game
Straight away, I’d like to point to the RPG label given to Half Past Fate. Now, I know there are numerous perspectives over what constitutes the genre. For me, it’s having weapons, a leveling system, or frequent, random battles; however, in Half Past Fate, none of these are present.
Is it still worth it though?
As the game begins, you take control of Rinden. On this bright, sunny day, you’re waiting at the corner for a friend of yours. It seems that he’s late. You call, frustrated. He answers and assures you he’s close. He also has a good excuse. As you hang up, not even seconds later, you notice him crossing the street. His name’s Kade. He reveals why he was late straight away. It turns out he had his second date with a girl who had helped him. Accepting that, the two of you continue a back and forth as you enter a cafe. You learn that Rinden isn’t a traditional dating. He much prefers online, or as he puts it, algorithm dating. He’s not the biggest fan of leaving it to fate. While waiting, you notice the cute barista. A bit of peer pressure later, you speak to her.
Time jump, you’re now Ana. She meets up with a friend. Her name’s Charlotte, and she’s volunteering at the Tea Festival. It turns out, this was something you used to do. After some chatter, you decide to explore. There’s an abundance of unique teas. Like one that you inhale, or one infused with protein powder. Half Past Fate shows you to the events that lead to the present day.
The banter between characters was quite easily a highlight. I Absolutely loved how Serenity Forge did it. Everything felt authentic, it was all organic and nothing felt forced. The way Rinden and Kade spoke to one another reminded me of myself with my best friends. An abundance of picking on each other, but doing so in a joking manner. There’ll be an instance when you’ll meet an older couple too. Reading their silly bickering reminded me of my parents. They’re into their early 60’s and are already arguing about video games. After being together for over thirty years, you become so comfortable with the other. You also aren’t afraid to get your point across.
There’s a section where you’ll control a young woman. She’s in the midst of getting ready for a presentation. Her nerves are doing backflips. As someone with anxiety, I could relate. Half Past Fate does a good job capturing that. As well as the mistakes made when you’re in a hurry. How you’ll be stressed and on-edge. That was all accounted for. Serenity Forge really nailed it.
What I really appreciated was that Half Past Fate indulges in-jokes. Not just any either. I’m well-known for making those lame, eye-rolling puns that’ll always get a groan or two. And to my glee, those same dad jokes are fully present. From simply replacing “GateKeeping” to the more appropriate “GateSteeping” when referencing the tea steeping, to the classic updog joke.
Out of all the characters, Jaren was by far my favorite because he is truly my spirit animal. He’s awkward and has a big heart. Some would label his actions as creepy or awkward, but as someone who really connected with his character, I fully understood him. Its not his fault he’s clumsy and sweats when a girls around.
Overall, Half Past Fate never puts the Nintendo Switch to the test. With its minimal visuals, it was smooth sailing throughout the gaming experience. Well, at least 99% of it. See, I did encounter a tiny bug. While I’d speak to an NPC, I noticed text boxes would disappear randomly here and there; however, it never left me confused about the overall story or hindered my enjoyment in any way.
This may sound weird, but it sort of reminded of the style of another title. Much like Octopath Traveler, there’s a sense of 3D depth to the characters reflected on the ground. The usage of shadows is very accurate. From what I understand, this is probably one of the hardest things to code. As my character moved, so did their shadow. It never felt unnatural or distorted. It was a constant, fluent animation. I think the pixel art approach really compliments the charm of the narrative.
You could separate the game-play into two equal parts. The first is very narrative-heavy. Half Past Fate has a story it wants to tell, and it will. While there’s not going to be any fast-paced action or heart-pounding excitement, the endearing story will make you smile.
The second half is puzzle-based. It sort of reminded me of those old adventure games from years passed. You’ll meet characters that require certain items in order for you to advance. Be it a burrito of some kind, or maybe reading glasses. The task is always clear, and I appreciated that. The only thing that tripped me up was because the game focuses on its dialogue, you need to speak to every NPC. I know, I know, there are those that think it’s a waste of time. Trust me, in order to solve the puzzles given, you’ll need to. Otherwise, you won’t be able to continue on with the game.
Half Past Fate is a charming, whimsical title. The banter and dialogue is top-notch. Everything sounded organic. The jokes were never forced unless intended. The sprites are well done too. The level of detail here is really quite impressive. The shadows are accurate, and the animation is smooth. While game-play is minimal, the puzzle half is well done. I never felt lost. I never needed to consult a guide. Everything made sense from a logical perspective, so I was never sat there wondering.
Serenity Forge has nailed it. I will mention that this game strikes me as one that would be very pleasing for casual gamers. Not too hard, and yet challenging enough to keep you on your toes. The story is also just really heartwarming and it kept me smiling throughout my experience. Keep in mind that while the game might take you a single sitting to complete, there are achievements for you completionists to go after. Who knows, maybe something will happen if you get them all.
Half Past Fate is a very solid game and I highly recommend it. It is available on the Nintendo estore for only $19.99. Code provided by Serenity Forge for review.