It seems that virtual card games or deck-building games are quickly rising in popularity. I have been a fan of card-based games for many years, starting with traditional card games and moving to some TCGs like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic cards as a teenager. Now, with smash hits like Slay the Spire and Hearthstone, virtual card games are really making a surge forward. Enter Foretales, a card game like no other I have experienced before! Is this deck-building RPG a leap forward or an experiment gone wrong? Let’s dive right in and find out!
Foretales is an incredibly ambitious project that aims to turn a single-player role-playing game into a card-based one. If this sounds confusing to you at first, you are certainly not alone. In fact, this was such a strange and exciting concept for a game that I absolutely had to take a look at this one. In my mind, whether it worked or not, I wanted to commend this developer for finding a genre that has not yet been explored, a rare thing to achieve today.
Foretales plays in a style that will seem familiar, at least in part, to those who have enjoyed trading card games previously. The combat is reminiscent of games like Magic: The Gathering and other battle-based card games, with cards having attack values and health values, and then resolving battle between them to reduce health. Likewise, these character cards can have effects that can modify other cards in a variety of ways. Skill cards can also be played in a phase separate from battle, often allowing you to either avoid conflict altogether or get a serious advantage in combat.
Outside of combat, however, this game feels truly unique. The board, which can be overwhelming at the start, contains many different zones, each with their own type of cards available. You still have your characters and their abilities but you also have your inventory cards that contain your money, food, reputation and threat level. You also have rest cards that can help replenish your skills if you get too low. In the centre of the board are the story locations and options. You play ability cards on these locations to trigger interactions which, hopefully, move the story along.
When first starting out, it can be easy to blow through your entire deck of skills with little efficiency, as at the time of writing this the tutorials and guidance are a bit lacking when advising on strategy. Additionally, the game can have a way of railroading you, forcing you to think of or luck into one or two possible scenarios. For how open-ended the gameplay is, I would have liked to see a little more flexibility for solving each location.
I will say, however, that the storyline is quite intriguing and the freshness of the game kept me coming back for more. I am sure it will not last forever, but this game offers what few do: a new gameplay style intricate enough to pull you in and rewarding enough to keep you there. The art style is very clean and consistent throughout, and even the voice acting is not half bad.
At the end of the day, Foretales is a breath of fresh air that will present a uniquely pleasant experience to any fans of TCG games, or card-based gameplay in general.