Stories: Path of Destinies is set in a vibrant, fairy-tale universe, where you follow the ex-pirate and unintentional hero, Reynardo the Fox, on his journey to save the Kingdom from the Mad King. The game features charming, hand-drawn illustrations, a colourful storybook aesthetic, and a unique choice-based narrative in which players explore different storylines to find the path to victory.
This game is what I’d consider a hidden gem. It seems to have been forgotten in the annals of time, a damn shame considering how much fun I’ve had with it. It isn’t perfect, with an equal amount of cons to balance the pros, but it puts a unique spin adventure RPGs.
I didn’t know what to expect going in, but I’m pleasantly surprised by the story, and the large variety of choices offered to the player. After the opening prologue, you can choose between a series of choices, to advance to the next chapter. There are four to five chapters to get through, to get an ending.
Some decisions are obvious in their morality but others, less so. I wasn’t expecting a gut-wrenching tale, but there are moments where your bad choices culminate in a truly twisted ending. The anthropomorphic characters eradicate any sense of realism, but it plays in the game’s favor because unexpected twists feel more impactful as a result.
Your decisions have consequences, and you can choose to follow up your actions in the previous chapter, or deviate entirely. This flexibility allows for varied endings, keeping me on my toes even after my first playthrough.
The game has a total of twenty-four endings. This might sound like a nightmare, but only four are required to unlock the True End. I won’t spoil them for you, but they are easy to figure out after finishing the game once. These endings are centred on important characters, and objects, in the game.
I have mixed feelings about the gameplay. Fighting enemies is little more than button mashing, and though you have an upgradable skill tree, the skills aren’t very useful. Enemies die quicker as you level up, but the button mashing remains a constant. An interesting mechanic is the ability to impale your enemies with your sword and throw them off the platform, which eases the repetitive combat.
The combat isn’t terrible, but considering you need more than one playthrough to finish the story, it can get tiring. Level design is mostly linear, with alternate paths that can be unlocked by different swords. You craft these swords by collecting ores you find in treasure chests. Thankfully, the game isn’t stingy on that front. Gathering materials is easy enough and gave me an incentive to explore every nook and cranny of each level.
The narration is a thing of art. The funny, sarcastic, wall-breaking comments livens up an otherwise mediocre game. The disembodied voice never feels overbearing. He’s an integral part of the story, narrating the dialogue of every character with flair and enthusiasm. If the story takes a turn for the dark, the narrator changes tack and matches how he speaks to the urgency of the situation.
He even has quips ready while Reynardo is engaged in combat! I often felt like I was being cheered on by a friend who was watching me play, making for a fun experience. If you know any dissenters who think voice acting isn’t important, just whip out Stories: Path of Destinies.
For anyone who wants a good RPG, with multiple endings and a well-written story, you can’t go wrong with this game. It might rough around the edges, but it’s definitely worth a buy.