A few years ago, I was introduced to a massively popular MOBA (or multiplayer online battle arena) game called League of Legends. After spending only a few hours with the free game, I was immediately hooked on the gameplay, graphics, and community, all of which are what makes LoL the e-sport it is. However, as I began to transition between computers and activities, I lost the time to really keep the game in my life. “If only I could carry around the gameplay of League without having to be at my computer!” I said as I hung my head.
Fast forward to this past week when I found the free-to-play, iPad-only game Fates Forever. Upon reading the Editor’s Choice description, in which it mentioned LoL, I decided to download the game and give it a good play through…
The game, created by Hammer & Chisel, seems to be made by just that–a hammer and chisel. With menus and overlays resembling rocks, it very much carries an outdoors-like theme throughout the game. Even the arena, non-surprisingly, is outside.
The standout feature of Fates Forever is, at least to me, the appearance. For an iOS app, the game is very well-animated, despite all of the moving parts and ambient effects. The tributes and characters in Fates Forever move smoothly and fluidly, keeping the game’s integrity without sacrificing performance. In addition, as the towers and Gyro move, frames stay consistent. While the design language is similar to that of other MOBAs, it works well for the mobile platform and doesn’t leave out any details that could take away from the game.
When running the game for the first time, the user will be prompted to go through a fairly extensive tutorial that gets the gameplay up and running. This will be extremely helpful for those who have never played a MOBA-style game before, but repetitive for LoL or DOTA veterans.
In theory, the gameplay is simple: eliminate the other team’s Gyro, or “flag.” You could think of it as Capture the Flag without having to actually return the flag to your own base. Despite the seemingly easy goal, the game proves to not only be tough, but long.
Two teams of three users are assigned and are told to pick characters to battle. Once completing this task, players are taken to the arena, where they are to purchase items, defeat tributes and other characters, take down towers, and battle until one team eliminates the other’s Gyro. The gameplay can often be very intense, with players battling it out for position and kills.
The arena contains three lanes, two of which are filled with towers that players must eliminate in order to advance to the Gyro. Players can go anywhere on the map, but most battles take place on the top and bottom lanes.
If there was one reason for LoL or DOTA not not to be ported to mobile, it was most likely a struggle to find suitable controls. However, Fates Forever handles this problem well, issuing a clever array of taps, swipes, and other gestures that really shine when used correctly. It does take a while to get all of the gestures down, but with practice, the movement is very smooth.
Fates Forever is truly best-in-class and is a pioneer in the mobile MOBA movement. The controls are easy to understand and straight-up fun to perform, while the appearance and design language pull it all together. In addition, the game runs smoothly and doesn’t sacrifice performance, despite having fantastic graphics.
As with any game with in-app purchases, some users can buy content that others cannot access. Of course, this model can hurt the overall experience, but it does not seem to rig the game in any way. The game is also somewhat new, so the stability has been questioned in user reviews, although I did not have any bugs or crashes.
In all honesty, this game deserves to be paid for, but luckily, the developers have put it up for free. Users get unbelievable quality and gameplay for free, so the value is obviously there. With characters being unlockable with in-game currency, players don’t have to pay real money for more features, which adds to the game’s value.
All in all, this game is a must-have for hardcore gamers who own an iPad and are willing to invest in the learning curve. The quality and design are there and it seems that the sky is the limit for Fates Forever. Be warned, however, that once you pick it up, it may be difficult to put down. Download Fates Forever for iPad in the App Store.