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Foretales Review – A Deep Deck of Fun

Foretales Review - A Deep Deck of Fun
Nintendo

Foretales Review – A Deep Deck of Fun

An adventure with the deck somewhat stacked in your favor.

Foretales on PC

There has been no shortage of cards in games in recent times, and depending on your preference, this can either be the best thing in gaming for a while now, or an unnecessary blending of genres. However, it is hard to deny that some truly creative endeavors have been born out of utilizing cards as part of the gameplay, and in Alkemi’s Foretales, it is a great complement to an adventure game brimming with possibilities that ultimately makes a few missteps.

Players will enter a world of anthropomorphic animals, and as the small-time thief Volepain, it is up to you to help save the day where a dark prophecy looms over the fate of everyone else. With the countdown to the apocalypse speeding along, you will have to decide how best to proceed, whether to discover the mysteries of creation or embrace the Maelstorm for eternity, revelling in the chaos.

Combat in Foretales
Image Source: Alkemi via Twinfinite

Heady stuff, but what it essentially boils down to is jumping from location to location, using the cards dealt to you to complete objectives, find clues, and take down any and all opposition that are just in the wrong place and the wrong time when it comes to combat.

Outside of that, Foretales also uses cards for making key decisions during your adventures or solving puzzles. You could be trying to figure out the best way to raise funds for an escape, or deciding if bribing the guards to gain access is the best way forward; there are always several solutions at your disposal, although the game continually stresses that combat is not exactly encouraged.

While there are healthy servings of both types of gameplay in Foretales, the game truly shines in the latter rather than the former. The accruement of the likes of fame, infamy, money, food, and other resources helps branch things out accordingly, allowing encounters to be more than just straight out brawls, but at the end of the day, combat doesn’t ever go beyond the numbers game. The side that deals the most damage the fastest usually comes out on top, with less strategy involved than what I would have liked. Even when there are options to go for the nonlethal route, it remains a somewhat tedious affair with no significant reward, and combat sequences tend to stand in the way of the more fun stuff, namely adventuring in the world.

Storytelling in Foretales
Image Source: Alkemi via Twinfinite

Indeed, that’s where Foretales’ excellent writing usually takes the spotlight, as the narrative throws up different scenarios in which the cast of characters get to shine in their respective domain. Be it Volepain’s reliance on his thieving ways to unearth secrets or Karst the gorilla’s propensity to find smuggling locations, there’s always a surprise awaiting players to discover in the next beat. Playing different cards can elicit unique interactions that could change how things play out.

For example, when dealing with a merchant, you can choose to buy what you need, pickpocket the unwary businessman, or outright kill them to get what you want. All of these actions have corresponding consequences, and it allows for some flexibility in dealing with the matters at hand, as long as you are willing to pay the price. By exploring and paying attention, varied paths to your objectives will open up, and Foretales become more than just a card battler in a sense.

It is this blend of smart writing, engaging puzzles, and the use of cards that make the journey worth getting through, even if you are not a fan of games involving cards in general. In fact, think of the cards as just a vehicle in which to transport you through important story moments and watch your decisions play out in Foretales.

Combat in Foretales
Image Source: Alkemi via Twinfinite

At least on the visual side, Foretales has a way about it that makes everything look stylish and clean, giving it a nice balance for an adventure that could very well lean into the darker side of things when it needs to. The use of color is often impactful as well, adding to the whimsy but not to the extent of being overbearing.

That said, beyond the tedium of combat, Foretales does suffer from not involving players more on the card side of things, namely deckbuilding. There is no way to customize your deck to suit a particular playstyle, nor is there a reliable way of building up your crew’s capabilities. Characters can also be inconsistent in the way they act, displaying contrasting personalities to the actions that they may have to take during the course of the game. The heavy lifting in character development tends to come from the player themselves.

Then again, even with its issues, Foretales has been an entertaining ride, especially when it comes to the writing and the smart way in which cards are used during the non-combat sequences. The way the story expands and changes based on decisions means there is much replayability and more great writing to enjoy, and as long as you can avoid too much combat, Foretales has every reason to be a game to look out for when compared to contemporaries like Inscryption or Voice of Cards, or its real-life counterparts like Yu-Gi-Oh!.

Review Block

Foretales

3.5
/ 5

Fair

Foretales Critic Review
Reviewer: Jake Su | Copy provided by Publisher.

Pros

  • Storytelling in a unique way.
  • Branching paths and possibilties.
  • Writing is excellent.

Cons

  • Repetitive combat can be tedious.
  • Nonlethal options have seemingly no point.
  • No deckbuilding or development.
Release Date
September 15, 2022
Developer
Alkemi
Publisher
Dear Villagers
Consoles
PC, Nintendo Switch
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