I’m a sucker for rogue-like games. I love the feeling of progression and seeing how my skill increases the more I play. When I stumbled on Leap of Fate from developer Clever-Plays, I was excited to sink my teeth into it. Leap of Fate is a cyberpunk twin-stick rogue-like game that puts the player in a gritty re-imagined New York City where magic is real. Players are tasked with testing their skill in the “Crucible of Fates.” At the start of Leap of Fate, only one of the four playable characters is available, named Aeon. He is your standard technomancer/technomage character. He has a blink spell that teleports him across the map and starts each level with a spell that tosses a large ball of dark energy to break enemy shields and dish out some serious damage.
To unlock the rest of the playable characters, the player must complete level specific missions that range from buying a specific item from the shop, to clearing three different levels in each world. Each character has one specific special ability and a glyph ability. For instance, the second character you unlock, Big Mo, has a teleport ability. But upon activation, Big Mo becomes invisible and creates a clone where he was standing. Enemies go after the clone, giving players the ability to turn the battlefield in their advantage. The glyph ability can change through pick-ups or players buying new ones at the ing game store.
The “Crucible of Fates” is the main hub world for Leap of Fate. There are six different worlds that are unlocked as the player completes the previous, but the way Leap of Fate handles their level select option is unique, and offers a lot of replay chances. The worlds are set-up as a deck of cards. Each level is dealt out in a pyramid shape, giving the player the ability to pick which route they want to take, and allowing them a chance to open two different routes at once, giving players more options as to what what dangers they face.While there are six different worlds, the environments in each world are extremely forgettable and the same goes for all the graphics in Leap of Fate. It looks and feels more like a last generation console game and is underwhelming on the PS4. The cyberpunk theme feels overdone and Leap of Fate brings nothing new to the genre. The character models are stereotypical and, once again, forgettable. This is Leap of Fate’s biggest issue, just rehashing themes and gameplay I have seen too many times.
The music in Leap of Fate is what you would expect of a gritty, city based game; disturbing and off-putting orchestral scores throughout, with fast and loud hard rock taking over during boss fights. The second a song was over, I instantly forgot it. It even got to the point where I just muted the game and played my own music while progressing. The biggest disappointment I had with Leap of Fate is how the game handles when replaying the earlier worlds. I dreaded restarting the game after each death. Each world is the same each time you go through it. There is no randomly generating layouts, the enemies stay the same, and even the underwhelming power-ups repeat. Maybe I’m spoiled by other well polished rogue-like games, like The Binding of Isaac and Rogue Legacy. Both are examples of games in which dying isn’t as punishing and each run through is different. Around death fifteen in Leap of Fate I grew tired of seeing the same layout time after time. The lack of change hinders the amount of time I want to sit and play and defeats the purpose of this type of game using a rogue-like structure in my opinion. I grew bored and frustrated having to tackle the same enemies, in the same locations, on the same levels, over and over again.
The story told in Leap of Fate isn’t anything to write home about. Once again, it’s forgettable and weak, only getting players from point A to point B and enhancing nothing. Unlike the story, however, the gameplay in Leap of Fate is fantastic. It feels great and the controls are tight and responsive. It uses the two analog sticks with the left one being used as movement and the right one being used as direction and aiming. The controls are quick and kept simple with the analog sticks; L1 and R1 are the main buttons used, allowing for less confusion when foes are breathing down your neck. Another thing that Leap of Fate does right are the skill trees each character gets. The more missions you complete on a specific character, the more permanent buffs you get. The better you do in the levels, the more you can buy for your upgrades from three different, extremely in-depth skills trees. The trees are broken down in three parts; mobility, for movement and teleportation, attack, increasing damage or alters spell effects, and passive, a constant ability.
Leap of Fate’s gameplay feels fantastic and the depth the player is given to make their perfect character is enjoyable. Unfortunately it’s hard to overlook the thin story, forgettable music, and boring levels that harm the replay ability, a huge hindrance for a rogue-like game. Leap of Fate is not a terrible game in small amounts, but I don’t recommend it for long periods of time. It’s not a game for everyone, but if you enjoy quick progression through bursts of play, Leap of Fate could be for you.
Leap of Fate is available now on Playstation 4, and PC via Steam. This review is based on a PS4 copy provided for that purpose.