Unknown Fate is the debut title by Marslit Games. Two brothers with a background in the comics industry in Italy make up this indie studio. There’s a certain pride gamers can sometimes associate with backing a project that is truly independent. The feeling that you’re supporting somebody’s dream is a great one. With few additional credits, this game feels beloved in its scope and ambitious with its goals. Ultimately however, flawed in its execution due to a persistence of bugs and other technical hiccups that amount to a game that I really wanted to like more.
As you begin to roam the streets in a quiet neighbourhood, the rain pours and the broken asphalt comes up underneath you Bastian style. A sombre cello plays to great effect and sets up a fantastical world where seeing is not believing. As twisted landscapes and demon fairies capture your view, you get the feeling that you’re playing a high budget B tier development title. it’s a great first impression. The sound design and soundtrack service the game very well and fit with the games overall aesthetic.
The story has you playing a character named Richard who of course, has amnesia and doesn’t remember who he is or why he is where he is. The concept of being led through a twisted version of your reality while reliving flashbacks from pivotal moments in your character’s life is not original, but it’s not a bad place to start. As you navigate a world constructed out of the twisted remnants of the character’s forgotten memories, you see the potential of a title that looks visually striking not only in its art design, but its world design. The aesthetic is not completely without its inconsistencies, but it’s cohesive enough. The voice acting for Richard is another story altogether. It’s not one of those things where it’s so bad that it’s good, it’s just not to be taken too seriously. In this schizophrenic world made up of your fragmented memories, you encounter a red crystal jewel which scatters across the game world. As you progress through the story and find fragments, you regain your memories and come to find out the nature of Richard’s relationship with the world around him.
Soon after you begin, you are given something called “The Artifact” which is essentially an orb that serves as a puzzle solving mechanism and also shoots off energy projectiles that you will go on to use against enemies. The problem is the controls are so busted that you can’t reasonably aim with any sort of precision effectively. You will eventually go on to unlock other abilities with The Artifact to solve environmental puzzles, but the frustrating controls impede the enjoyment of those moments as well. The jumping feels off and will have you falling while attempting to platform across certain environments and hooking onto ledges unintentionally. Not that any of the puzzles are especially hard, they just become repetitive and uninspired at times. This game is just rough all around. it’s the only game that I’ve played that has hard crashed in handheld mode. It’s 2019 and quality control goes a long way in making your game successful.
Comparing this game with any other is never completely fair since no two games are ever created equally. However, There is something to be said about the relative quality of a paid release in 2019. As an example, when you think about a game like That Game Company’s masterpiece Journey, the concepts alone are extremely simple. It’s in Journey’s immaculate technical execution of those concepts that it managed to stand out very visibly from the rest. A polished, tight, distinct experience in visual storytelling and minimalist gameplay displayed with masterful execution.
The unfortunate thing in all of this is that there is a lot of promise here . More polish and tighter controls would have gone a long way to making this a more enjoyable experience. I really wanted to like Unknown Fate more with it’s indie appeal, cool world design and some interesting concepts, but the potential here far outweighs the result.
Nintendo Playroom would like to thank Marslit Games for providing the site with a copy of the game for review.
What do you think? Plan on giving it a chance? Let us know in the comments below!
Forged in the 8 bit era, Duarte can be found quietly contemplating the future of the games industry. Wondering what the exhilaration of digital achievement will look like on the next horizon.