Everyone wonders about fate at some point in their lives. Are our actions are own? Are they predetermined? Are moments and meetings unavoidable? No one knows, of course, but it can be fun to guess. Serenity Forge and Way Down Deep's Half Past Fate goes out of its way to take a look at the universe and plays with the concept of fate in a different, lighthearted manner.
Half Past Fate follows the story of three different romances- Ana and Jaren, Rinden and Mara, and Bia and Milo. Each story takes place over a different amount of time, from 8 years to 1 day. The stories are each told piecemeal, with each of the game’s 12 chapters flashing back to a previous time. Only the last chapter takes place in the present.
Ana and Jaren were my favorite pair to follow. Two college-aged kids who meet up at a tea festival, Ana is the resident expert, using the clueless Jaren as her test subject for a marketing experiment. Though they part ways on friendly terms, Jaren loses her number and spends the next two flashbacks working to track her down. As a natural-born gamer, his segments are full of tongue in cheek video game references poking fun at the genre, particularly at Jaren’s many fetch-quests.
Rinden and Mara have the shortest story, taking place over the course of one day. Initially, she spills coffee on him in the coffee shop that morning, and their interactions actually get worse from there. While Mara is a strong and confident career woman, Rinden is clearly written by someone who hasn’t lived in a big city in their life, as he thinks jaywalking is actually a crime and that there’s such a thing as cars being too close together to walk between. Their dynamic is definitely the most interesting of the stories.
Bia and Milo are the longest of the stories, taking place over eight years. The two met while Bia was working on a college assignment. Their shared love of movies and photography/cinematography connects them, but the time span ensures their relationship is a slow burn. Bia’s perspective dominates the story as their relationship progresses through the years. It’s the most realistic of the three plots, but also the most bittersweet.
In addition to the main characters, the background cast intertwines throughout all three stories. Recurring characters play a role, no matter how small, in almost every scenario. From the unnamed hippie dude who dubs Rinden an Earth Warrior to Bia’s friend Lars to Jaren’s boss Oscar, each character has their own special part to play in the intricately woven overall narrative. Of course, our main characters also tend to pop up in each other’s stories from time to time, giving them more of a substantial place in the tale as a whole.
The gameplay is incredibly simple, even for an adventure game. The first chapter explains everything in a very helpful tutorial and uses only a handful of buttons. It’s a great way to introduce beginners to the genre without overwhelming them with 18 different keyboard shortcuts. As a bonus, if you forget which key does what, there are helpful labels on the screen at all times.
Unfortunately, the downside of having such simple gameplay is that it isn’t used for very much. The majority of the game is spent talking and walking around, there are no real puzzles other than a few fetch quests of the “favor chain” variety. Since only a few background characters are interactable in each area, it’s not particularly difficult to solve any of the problems. Still, its lack of difficulty contributes to the game’s relaxing atmosphere.
The art and music are both quite fitting to the story, being cute but not overbearingly sweet. Half Past Fate is rendered in usual pixel art, but the characters all have shadows and interact with the world as if they were cardboard cutouts moving through a pop-up book, in a vaguely 3D style. The background movements also give life to the story, from Chai’s tail wagging to Bia’s hair bouncing as she walks around. It’s subtle but well-done. The chiptune music is all pretty soothing, with a light, Tinkertoy-esque vibe to it.
Overall, Half Past Fate is a fun, relaxing experience that clocks in at around four hours. If you’re looking for a challenge, well, you’re not going to find it here. But if you’re looking for interesting and diverse characters, as well as a perfectly plotted story, you’re in luck. That is, if luck exists- maybe it was fate.
TechRaptor reviewed Half Past Fate on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the publisher.
- Loveable, Diverse Characters
- Intricately Plotted Narrative
- Easy Gameplay Mechanics
- No Puzzles
- No Real Challenge
- Short Four Hour Runtime