App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Twin-stick shooters are a strange genre on mobile primarily because ... wel l... there are no "sticks" to speak of. That said, there have been a good number of successful twin-stick games on iOS, notably Geometry Wars 3 and Space Marshals. Leap of Fate is a new entry in this arena, and -- with its brand of eerie roguelike shooting -- offers up some twitchy, roguelike fun.
The hand of fate
Leap of Fate is basically an arena shooter surrounded by roguelike and RPG elements. You choose a character, head into a hub area, and approach a table of cards. These cards get randomly dispersed in a pyramid-like shape with the top card being the only visible one. As you take actions on these cards, new ones will be revealed until you find and defeat the Guardian card, which will then move you to the next level.
The cards on the table determine the kinds of encounters you will have for a given level. There are combat cards, which involve entering a procedurally-generated arena and fighting waves of enemies, shop cards for buying items, and more. Since the cards are setup like a pyramid, moving down in cards presents opportunities for branching paths, allowing for some strategic planning between the action. As with all roguelikes, if you die, you have to start over at level 1, though there are a decent number of unlocks you can earn between runs to help you advance further in the future.
Leaps in lore
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Leap of Fate is the amount of world-building it does and how that world-building translates into gameplay variety. At the start of the game, you have access to a single character, but you soon unlock other characters, all of whom have their own back stories (told via cutscenes) revealing their reasons for being part of Leap of Fate's world.
On top of this, the narrative of each character also ties into how each one plays. For example, there's an experimental bionic weapon attached to one hero's arms, and playing him effectively involves controlling your shots to prevent your arm from overheating. These little touches really help make the game feel like more than a standard twin-stick shooter.
Leap of Fate's only real issue is its controls. Virtual joysticks work fine for mobile games in a lot of contexts, but the stakes are high in this fast-paced roguelike, making it hard not to wish that there was an option for Leap of Fate to accommodate MFi controllers. What makes this even more frustrating is that there is clearly a foundation for controller support already built into the game, as connecting a controller does make button prompts appear in menus, but it appears there aren't plans for controller support to be implemented on mobile.
The bottom line
Despite not having controller support, Leap of Fate still manages to be an entertaining title. If you like your roguelikes a little more fast-paced and cyberpunk, this is the game for you.