It’s a lovely day for an indie game, I’d say. I had a chance to tinker with Stories: The Paths of Destiny and I’ve gotta say, it’s earned itself a fair bit of praise. Credit where credit is due though, it is far from a perfect experience. I think if I can coach you on understanding what you are in for, you will wring out some rather joyful experiences out of this luster-y little gem.Stories: The Paths of Destiny is a fairly linear branching path but ultimately very one-way action RPG. You control an anthropomorphic fox-man named Reynardo who has been charged with protecting a young rabbit and his mysterious relic, an old book. As you play each level, you battle a handful of foes in the form of standard brawler mix up of hench-ravens. Most are regular baddies, some cast spells; the real thorn in your paw, however, will be the shield bearers.
You on the other hand are a crack swordsman with a few simple but fun commands to take down large groups of somewhat deadly enemies. With basic sword swings, you’ll cause the most damage, but you can easily grab and throw your foes off the edge of the map. Eventually you can dash throw a grappling hook and channel magic through your swords for different effects like ice, fire, and health regeneration.Combat is very simple, though a tad ruthless at times. If you do not pay close attention, you will lose a lot of health in a single battle. Fights are, however, spaced out enough to be very satisfying when you get through a rough confrontation without taking a single hit.
Where Stories: The Paths of Destiny really shines is in it’s presentation. The game looks and sounds great. While it lacks real cinematic cut scenes, the bulk of the game’s story is told through storybook style pages adorned with gorgeous and very stylized illustrations of Reynardo’s adventure.
The beautiful art assets Stories: The Paths of Destiny presents proudly are trumped only by the absolutely perfect voice work of Julian Casey, who absolutely kills it as our snappy narrator/every other piece of character dialogue in the game. That’s right, just like dad tucking you in with a story he is the voice of every character, full of animal puns and raven caws alike.
The game plays out a bit like a Star Trek episode, especially like in The Next Generation when that Q guy shook it up. Basically you play out the story. After every level you are presented with a few choices of what to do next. Then, at the final level, a scene plays out that usually results in your death. Soon after, Reynardo turns the page, as if nothing happened, and you start all over. You learn a little about the world, about who is friend or foe, and you try again. You retain all your skills and weapons for each play through as you try again, making you feel stronger and faster every time. You just keep trying until you find the right way to save the world, your life, and maybe even find love.Stories: The Paths of Destiny is short, by design, and I’m pretty okay with that. It’s entertaining and replayable as hell. If you are like me, however, I suspect you will tire of it around the six to eight hour mark. It is not incredibly difficult to deduce a correct course of events, but there are so very many choices and different endings to earn; there’s a sort of collectible fun attached to it all.
My only two caveats were the loose-ish controls and the prevalence of bugs. I ran into a handful of glitches that had me half sunken into the terrain, unable to move. Another instance rendered an entire floating island invisible. My [least] favorite was a moment where I died, then somehow triggered the ending cutscene which locked up my game.
On the whole, I really enjoyed Stories: Paths of Destiny quite a bit. It felt a lot like Bastion with is bit of Fable for flavor. The overall story was a tad short and not as involved as I’d prefer but the game play reflects its simplicity, which is not a bad thing at all. If you need something between your strolls in the park for Pokemon, consider picking up Stories: The Paths of Destiny for Steam or PS4.