If you enjoy card-based video games, there’s a new one to put on your radar. It’s called Foretales, and it’s not quite like the others.
Developed by Alkemi and published by Dear Villagers, Foretales isn’t simply about building up a good deck and destroying your opponents. Described as a “card-based narrative journey”, every action you perform in the game is via your stacks of cards.
There is combat, of course, but that’s only a small slice of what Foretales has to offer. You’ll also use cards to scout your environment, to communicate, and, sometimes, to outwit your foes. Sure, you can use an attack to defeat your opponent, but you could instead offer them a money card to bribe them. In fact, this is a game that promotes experimentation. It might not always work out the way you want it to, but it often pays to simply “see what happens” when you play a card.
Being a narrative-focused game, story is at the forefront of Foretales. Players take on the role of Volepain, an avian thief trying to get by in a dark, doomed world. But accompanied by a range of animal companions, hopefully Volepain can overcome the challenges that face him. And perhaps he might just save the world in the process.
We say “might”, because exactly how Foretales plays out depends on what actions you take. That experimental gameplay can lead to multiple outcomes; there’s a branching storyline with multiple endings. It’s not always going to end happily, then, and you’ll have to think carefully about what cards you play in what situations if you want to find success.
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There’s quite a lot to wrap your head around here, particularly if you’re used to card games like Slay the Spire where everything is simply an attack. In Foretales your cards are split into combat, action and items. Any of them can be used in multiple circumstances. For example, you could give a beggar some food in exchange for some information. Or you could spend some money in a tavern to meet a new acquaintance. Alternatively, you might have a character who can sneakily eavesdrop onto conversations. That might come in handy if you’re trying to track down a clue to where you need to go next.
But when everything in Foretales falls into place, you’ve got a truly engaging, original adventure on your hands. Perhaps what stands out most to us, though, is how simply gorgeous it looks. Each card is beautifully illustrated, with characters reminiscent of classic Disney movies. There’s more than a hint of Robin Hood here; thanks in part to the anthropomorphic character designs coupled with beautiful 2D drawings.
We’ve only spent a bit of time with Foretales so far, but what we’ve seen has us really intrigued to play more. The combination of card play, storytelling and player-led consequences is exciting, and we can’t wait to try and save the world as Volepain.
Foretales is slated for a summer 2022 release. It’ll b e coming to PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Switch.