A Meet-Cute Adventure
HIGH Each character’s story weaving in and out of the others.
LOW The same music on repeat over and over.
WTF Rabbit dolls as save points?
Half Past Fate is a pixel-art adventure title with elements of a dating sim. Despite a few rough edges, I discovered that while I had never seen this particular combo done before, the two genres blended together almost perfectly.
HPF puts the player into the shoes of a variety of different characters, each with their own goals and motivations — Rinden (VP of an investment group), Ana (the daughter of tea shop owners), Bia (a Brazilian photographer), and more. The script does an excellent job of slowly revealing each one as I played, carefully unraveling their backstory and how they know each other.
One way Half Past Fate does this is by using time skips. It starts out with “Two Hours Ago” and jumps between that point and its final chapter, each scene building upon the last to a heartwarming finale. Yes, spoilers, Half Past Fate is heartwarming. It’s also got its share of drama and a humorous charm that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Unfortunately, this leads me to one of the very few criticisms I had with Half Past Fate — there’s not enough player agency in the outcomes. In many dating sims, the player can see various endings, which leads to replayability. In HPF, the adventure game half of the equation seems to win out as the choices I made seemed to have little effect on the story. For such interesting characters and their well-crafted story, I wanted to have a bit more say in how things unfolded.
Speaking of the adventure side, in each chapter characters will interact with a specific set of puzzles to advance the story. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of this, but as it progressed, it grew on me since the dev does an excellent job of making each puzzle make sense. There’s no “moon logic” of the type seen in older LucasArts games or other classics. I was happy to find more realistic (although occasionally ridiculous) solutions and the character interactions they triggered.
Apart from my issues with the lack of choice and nitpicks like a thin soundtrack and a confusing save system, I very much hope the developers at Serenity Forge create a sequel to Half Past Fate — with this initial foray into blending of genres, I’m hopeful for more!
— Nikki Waln
Disclosures: This game is developed by Serenity Forge and published by Way Down Deep. It is currently available on Switch, PS4, XBO and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on PC. Approximately 6 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. No multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E. There are no descriptors.
Colorblind Modes: There no colorblind modes available in the options.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All dialogue is presented via text with no voice acting. There are no audio cues. This game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: This game’s controls are not remappable.