- + 24 different endings in an £8.99 game.. talk about bang for your buck
- + Vibrantly art style
- + Snappy, frenetic combat
- - No cooperative multiplayer, boo
- - Lack of individual voices for each character sometimes feels a shame
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full review below…
Start Replay: “Choose Your Path”
Stories: The Path of Destinies is the latest title to arrive from bite-sized developer, Spearhead Games. Their last game to land on consoles came in the form of Tiny Brains, a journey that led players into the world of rodents caught in scientific lab experiments – their newest game has a slightly different tone.
Stories is an action role-playing adventure that focuses heavily on giving players the ability to affect its storyline. At certain points you’re able to decide how its tale unfolds, often altering which areas you explore, as well as who you meet along the way. Typically, a single romp through its story will take between 30 and 45 minutes. In total there are 24 endings to experience, adding up to over 12 hours of gameplay.
You play as Reynaldo, a sharply dressed fox who is part of a resistance force fighting against an oppressive Emperor. As the story unravels its events and characters are voiced by a single narrator. He’ll often remark on how you play; whether you’re smashing every object in sight, or receive damage from an enemies’ incoming attack. Having the game told from the perspective of a storyteller works well for the most part, particularly when it comes down to replaying the game and experiencing its different endings. It would have been nice, however, to have well-known voice actors lend their chops to each character. There are a handful of side-characters throughout your journey, but Reynaldo is a prominent heroic figure.
Aside from traversing each level’s stylised location, its gameplay is bare bones for the most part. Getting from A to B whilst taking care of enemies will fill up most of your time, and its combat is simple enough to make jumping into a fight fun and frenetic. Small exclamation marks act as a visual indicator before an enemies’ attack, but reacting with a well-timed strike will easily catch any threat off guard. Fighting feels fast and easy to grasp, while also feeling addictive and more-some – the addition of a combo meter often led me to an intentional death just to restart for an absolutely perfect round.
A trusty sword is all that lines your arsenal, but collecting experience and opening hidden chests enables you to unlock more sword types, each with their own elemental effect; fire, magic and water.
Character progression is also important and comes in the way of experience points. A variety of different skill trees can be upgraded, including basic stats such as your health or walking speed, but it’s the combat skills that once increased make each fight a piece of cake – not to say they aren’t pretty simple to begin with. Gems can also be found in chests and added to Reynaldo’s gauntlet. Three gems can be placed into the gauntlet at any one time, meaning you can swap between which ones benefit your play style the most; one can increase your chances of acquiring rare loot, whereas another will allow you to break through an enemies’ shield. Every gem has its own level of power, with 3 being the maximum.
Going into story specifics would ruin the game, but it’s a heroic fairy tale adventure. The sheer amount of different endings available really allows you to thoroughly explore different outcomes. It’s a shame that considering Spearhead’s last game was very focused on playing socially, that Stories lacks any type of multiplayer component. It would have been nice to have a sidekick fighting alongside me, and even better if my friend and I could choose alternate paths through online multiplayer, unaware as to how our combined set of choices might affect the future. Overall I’m pleased with the polished, concentrated gameplay experience Spearhead Games have provided.