Once a steam sale I always find some kind of game that surprises me. A few sales ago it was Dust An Elysian Tail, last winter (2015) it was Rebel Galaxy; this summer (2016) it was Stories The Path of Destinies. Stories is essentially a Hack and Slash combo RPG but what it really prides itself on is its 24 different choice paths that ultimately take the character to different outcomes.
Stories has a fun combat mechanic that relies not only on combos but also accurate timing and dodging. As you progress through the game you’ll get new abilities and powers that will change the combat up such as quick dash, counter + time freeze, sword powers and much more. On top of that each map has different paths you can take based on the progress of your character and what swords you have unlocked allowing for new powers and loot. Now unfortunately the game, due to the way the story repeats, only has about 6 levels that are the same each time just with different paths. Now it didn’t feel bland after I repeated the game about 8 times before finishing however you could start to feel a sort of repetitive nature of everything even with new powers. The enjoyable combat however far outweighs the repeated nature of the game. Each combat happens in a sort of arena environment where different enemies spawn in and you get more XP for your combo streak and style of killing enemies much like a Devil May Cry style of play. Now the difficulty of said encounters is very moderate and doesn’t take much effort to figure out what you need to do to survive these encounters especially as your skill tree gets filled up.
As I mentioned the true nature of this game is in the different paths that the main character, Reynardo, follows that eventually gets him killed each time. Reynardo is a sort of scoundrel that has been thrown into a conflict where he is trying to stop the mad emperor and help the rebellion. Originally Reynardo is given a book that lets him relive past stories after each time he is killed in various ways. This allows him to learn from his deaths and try to piece together a path that he lives in and stops the emperor. Each path had a unique story and dialogue that made sitting and playing them repeatedly kind of fun and enjoyable. It was just enough to keep wanting to find out all the different outcomes that could happen to Reynardo and his companions.
Stories has a very colorful cel shaded style of art and that is very well done. It is obviously not the most graphically detailed game but it is very well done for the art style they were going with. Spearhead Games (the dev) were obviously going with a child’s book style of art while still having a dark side to it all. The art design is obviously has anthropomorphic creatures which may turn off some people but I can assure you that it is hardly noticeable and it is enough to make the game feel different.
Stories also boasts a very enjoyable soundtrack and narrator. The music (although gets repeated on each level) is catchy and fits the theme of the level you are currently on. I especially found myself singing along each time I was on the last level, was kind of catchy. Along with that the game features what you could call a Bastion style of narration where the narrator not only voiced the characters in dialogue but also narrated what you did while you were controlling Reynardo. All during my 8 or so hours of play I didn’t notice too many repeated lines so they definitely had a lot of dialogue created for this game.
Overall this game is a lot of fun and a huge surprise that I was able to find during the sale and I recommend it for anyone that might enjoy a hack and slash with alternate choices and funny dialogue. There are obviously some problems with this game including some display settings like no borderless windowed mode and a sort of repetitive nature of the different paths to get to the final one. However it was a very enjoyable game especially for the price of $15.