It’s not very often I come across a game that truly perplexes me. I mean, there are a lot of weirder games, but that’s just a staple in the industry. So, when I first played Unknown Fate, it really racked my brain. This is a pretty strange game, and I don’t really know how to talk about it. I’m going to try my best though, so be prepared.

Story Worth Telling?

Unknown Fate is a 3D, First Person Puzzle Adventure, developed by MARSLIT GAMES. You play as Richard who one day while standing outside a house is suddenly transported to a world unlike any other.

Richard loses all memory of who he is, and has to travel through this very unorthodox world alone. He meets many unworldly entities, that guide him on his quest, or prevent to stop him. Richard learns that the world he travels in has been created by his memories. It’s up to you to guide him through to the end to hopefully help return Richard’s memories to him.

Unknown Fate as a bizarre, and abrupt story. Everything happens so fast, and completely out of the blue. Different events take place, quickly, and everything is very non-nonsensical. Really the whole time I was playing Unknown Fate, I didn’t  have any grasp of what was happening.

The story needed more direction, and reasoning. It shouldn’t have been left  so open-ended. It’s somewhat intriguing but many will be too confused by it to stay interested.

Every once in awhile you will come across these red shard things. These red starts will let you relive some type of memory. You see a black and white world with figures, and it’s supposed to help link the story together.

Sometimes you’ll even get to play through these sequences. You’ll get go walk around which ever setting, and interact with it. This is supposed to be used to help piece the story together.  I found it came across as monotonous, and unnecessary.

Maybe getting to see a flash back in color would make more sense. The way that they implemented these sequences just felt off putting, and provided little benefit to the overall experience.

Puzzling Dream

Unknown Fate combines a few different elements to its gameplay. Besides some simple platforming elements, the bulk of the game is puzzle solving.

You receive an artifact that will allow you to manipulate objects in the environment. You’ll start with the ability to shoot a small projectile. This projectile will allow you to transform objects into platforms. Then you’ll get another ability that will allow you move, and rotate platforms. There’s even an ability that let’s you mess around with time, I mean who doesn’t love that?

The puzzle manipulation mechanics I do have to say are pretty solid. You have pretty good control over objects. While it’s a bit wonky sometimes for the most part it works well. It’s kind of interesting to see the effects you have on the entirety of the environment around you.

Now the problem with this game is the combat. The combat is extremely shallow, and boring. The only enemy that appears is the same alien type entity. Sometimes they will appear in pairs, but they all look the same. You stun them and shoot the opening in their tail, and then they explode into weird particles.

It’s a shame that combat even became a focus, because the puzzle mechanics were the entertaining part of the game. Unfortunately the combat really brings down the experience.

Weird Wacky World

Unknown Fate is presented in a state way. The world looks like a hallucination combined with a nightmare. Every thing is dark and unsettling.

The environments are strange, and kind of disturbing. It’s almost like a twisted version of “Wonderland”. You will find mundane things like huge doors, and stuffed animals, but then you will also find strange otherworldly monsters. 

The color palette is pretty dreary looking, but that fits pretty well with the games aesthetics. The graphical design of Unknown Fate is just so strange I have a hard time completely understanding what the developers were trying to go for.

It’s isolated, and dark, but in a way the world gives off a very innocent vibe as well. It truly uses strange visual choices, that you really have to experience to get there full effect.

The soundtrack for Unknown Fate goes well with the game. It helps add to the unsettling atmosphere, that the Unknown Fate tries hard to create.

I should that there is voice acting but it’s not very good. Richard’s voice acting is especially lacking, the emotion in his voice felt so forced.

Not Unknown Technical Issues

It’s unfortunate that I do have to say that Unknown Fate suffers from more then a few technical issues.

Resolution is okay, but the framerate is pretty rough especially in handheld mode. I rarely ever stayed at a constant framerate. Especially when jumping platforms the game chugged away pretty hard. Some of the frame dips were pretty harsh, and caused the whole game to slow down. I would say the bulk of the framerate problems were not game breaking. However, they really did detract away from the experience. I noticed less frame rate problems in docked mode, but there were still some.

I was surprised at the draw distance which was pretty far. You can see textures forming off in the distance, and that was nice. Nothing was hard to see, but the textures were pretty muddy. I could seen everything fine, but once you got up close to some objects they looked pretty rough. Unknown Fate does look nice, in some ways but it’s definitely not without faults.

Controlling was another concern because trying to aim at objects to shoot was pretty tough. Luckily you do have the ability to adjust sensitivity. However, I feel that the implementation of motion controls would have really helped make the gameplay feel even smoother.

Lastly I do have to mention there’s a bug in some levels where you can get stuck in a corner and are unable to get out. I fell during one of the platforming segments and got stuck behind the bottom of it. This caused me to have to restart, and the game only saves after reaching the next area so I had to redo the entire area. This was really frustrating, and something that must be addressed immediately!

Conclusion

Overall Unknown Fate feels like the definition of a video game identity crisis. I think it wanted to be a puzzle game with a compelling mysterious narrative. Along the way though it added stuff like combat, and turned the story into a some weird mess.

While the puzzle mechanics are solid, and the game has a well developed atmosphere it’s a really hard game to recommend. I just can’t see it appealing to most people, because of it’s confusing story, and lack of substance. Mixed all of that with the amount of technical issues the game has, and things just aren’t looking great.

If you’re compelled by strange narratives, or just looking for a game that’s pretty off the cuff then check out Unknown Fate. For any fans of the puzzle, or first person genre, wait for a heavy sale. I think the developers should have focused less on the plot, and added more variety to the solid puzzle mechanics. There just isn’t much here to warrant picking up without a discount. Unknown Fate is available for $14.99 on the NA eShop.

5/10 3D First Person Puzzle Platformer

A Strange Game that Comes Across Shallow and Confusing

Pros

  • Solid Puzzle Mechanics
  • Fitting Soundtrack
  • Well Established Unsettling Atmosphere

Cons

  • Framerate Issues
  • Muddy Textures In Handheld Mode
  • Combat is Awful
  • No Enemy Variety
  • Story Is Confusing and Not Compelling
  • Black & White Scenes Detract From the Games Pace
  • Bugs That Cause You To Have To Restart An Area

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