Half Past Fate – Review
30 Apr, 2020
In Half Past Fate, we guide six characters in their romantic destinies, towards one fateful moment. Is love in the air? Here’s what we think.
When the first chapter of Half Past Fate wrapped up, I knew I was in for something special. All I did in that chapter was help a guy get his coffee. And yet, the game’s cheerful aura and likeable characters had me so engrossed that it had swept away every negative feeling in my mind. If you can imagine a game having a contagiously delightful smile, Half Past Fate is it.
Half Past Fate follows the often-intertwining fates of six characters. We are first introduced to Rinden, who is VP at a major investment firm, and who keeps running into start-up founder Mara—in rather unfortunate ways. Then you have Ana, who has been raised in a tea connoisseur family, and who finds herself initiating video game store employee Jaren. Finally, there’s Bia, a Brazilian photography student who ends up collaborating with film student Milo. If it sounds like that’s too many flavours at once, you should really have no cause for concern. Each chapter of the game focuses on one character at a time, although some characters get multiple billings. The roughly 20-30 minute chapters are each set in a bright and beautifully realised environment, where your character must fulfil a seemingly simple objective (that requires several comically roundabout steps).
The opening level, for example, gives you a practically mundane goal. Rinden just has to grab a coffee from a coffee shop before he heads off to work, but with the added pressure of being late. A furious customer is holding up the ordering queue, and now Rinden has to convince the people in the queue to let him cut in, and then assuage the irate lady holding up the queue. Another chapter gives you the goal of acquiring tickets to festival film that has long been sold-out. Luckily enough, you find someone with said tickets, but they require a trade, which requires another trade, which requires food, which requires money, and so on. Half Past Fate glides past its slice-of-life mundanity with staggering wholesomeness. There isn’t a fibre of negativity in the game, which makes effective use of colourful palettes, optimistic dialogue, copious and cute humour, and chirpy music. Even if you’re not sold on the game’s simplistic gameplay and low-stakes narrative, the sheer presentation of Half Past Fate is so pleasant that you have no choice but to stick with it for a satisfying pay-off.
The animations are smooth, the writing is both zippy and soulful, and the content is fresh. Although all of the major relationships in the game are heteroromantic, there are a number of LGBTQ+ characters and a very diverse pool of ethnicities that realistically play into the characters’ personalities while bucking stereotypes so hard, you’ll banish them from your mind. My particularly favourite part about Half Past Fate’s narrative is how followable it is despite its non-linear structure and ensemble cast. True to the ‘fate’ in its title, Half Past Fate connects plot threads so smoothly that every chapter features several ‘a-ha!’ moments as you discover a story or character link to a previous chapter. By the time the final chapter concluded (which, by the way, featured the most ingenious style of developer credits I’ve seen), I was thoroughly won over by these characters and their adventures to find true love.
Half Past Fate is resolutely simple in its puzzling, which takes the form of (thankfully very logical) item puzzles. The environments are bite-sized without being too claustrophobic, but there’s plenty of objects and characters to examine, which reflect your character’s personality and outlook and make each area feel fleshed-out and lived-in. This also means that Half Past Fate aims its dart squarely at players who want both a bubbly narrative and a bit of adventure game-style puzzling, but not either extreme. It’s not quite a visual novel that throws all its eggs in the story basket, and it also won’t tax your puzzle-solving skills too much.
If, like me, you have no qualms with breezy adventure puzzles and a bubbly narrative, Half Past Fate is a relentlessly sweet and adorable rom-com that charms the heart and soothes the mind.
Developer: Serenity Forge
Country of Origin: United States
Publisher: Way Down Deep
Release Date: 12th March 2020 (PC, Mac, Switch)
This review is based on a copy of the game provided by the developer. The PC version of the game was played for this review of Half Past Fate.
Thank you for reading this review of Half Past Fate! For other interesting articles on Into Indie Games, check out the links below:
- Into Indie Games Homepage
- Indie Dev Interview: Sir Ian Livingstone
- What’s The Future For Indie Games?
- Monument Valley Walkthrough
- Metamorphosis – Review
- Review: The FIFINE Ampligame H6 USB Gaming RGB Headset for under $50
WHAT DID Into Indie Games THINK?
FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS
With its smooth puzzles and bubbly sweet narrative, Half Past Fate is practically rom-com therapy in video game form.