by Alex Hempel

“The year is 2020. Climate change has been ignored, resources are running low and the world is faced with environmental and financial crisis. Can you solve the world’s problems?”

In 2020, the Climate Summit decides that environmental protection and long-term future prospects are too important to let individual nations be in charge of them. In response, the Global Environmental Organization is founded to protect the interests of Earth and everyone living on it. As president of the GEO, the player will be pitted against several scenarios with economic and ecological objectives. The big picture: Survive the next two centuries with everything that’s left to salvage.

Fate of the World is a turn-based strategy game in which the player is put in charge over up to 12 regions of the world. In each turn, you need to assess the situation in each individual region and take short- or long-term measures to improve things based on the given objectives. Measures are issued by recruiting agents in the regions and playing available cards. The number of cards that can be played in one region depends on the number of agents recruited, as well as on available funds.

It's a kind of Magic?

Despite these rather simple mechanics, gameplay itself is surprisingly deep and complex. When I said you need to assess the situation, I meant it; In each turn, you can use statistics, trends, news and the support values for the regions to determine what to do next. These values are very important. It’s not enough to just play it by ear, you need to take the needs of each region into account and still keep an eye on your own mission objectives, both of which may be at odds with each other. Every card will have an effect on the support you have in the respective region – let it drop below a certain value and you will be banned from it. Also, the cards are organized in a kind of tech-tree, with certain cards only becoming available after playing other cards. Unfortunately the dependencies aren’t documented in-game, so it’s up to you to figure out how to plan your moves in order to have the necessary cards available later.

While the gameplay is compelling enough for a strategy gamer, the scenario requires some serious suspension of disbelief. For the sake of the message, I can get myself to buy it, but honestly: you’re taking 12 regions of the world whose interests don’t gel on the best of days, and put one person in charge of all of them? That’s just asking for disaster. The player has to make economic, environmental and political decisions which, at least in our world, are in the hands of national governments for a reason. That’s what they’ve been elected for (ideally), and if they screw up, they have to answer to their people (ideally). In the game, if support for the GEO in a region drops too low, there is no democratic process and no backup plan: you’re out. Come to think of it, there seems to have been no real democratic process to put GEO into power in the first place…

Fate of the World tries hard to deliver its message: we are out of long runs, and urgent action is required to guarantee a future for coming generations. Fair enough, but we knew that. The solution suggested by the game however doesn’t seem very viable, and while it certainly provides some food for thought, I find it hard to buy into the idea for long enough to actually enjoy playing it.

Presentation: 8/10

A simple interface, easy to understand, well-arranged and with pretty graphics. Nuff said.

Sounds: 6.5/10

Relatively forgettable background music and action sounds – a bit of voicework might have given the game more appeal on the sound side of things.

Value: 8.0/10

For 10 Dollars (~ZAR70) this is not a bad package. There’s worse out there for this kind of money. Unfortunately there are also better indie games with more longevity and replay value. I don’t see a lot of people spending more than a few hours with this game…

Gameplay: 7/10

There is no story mode as such; the game is organized in several campaigns of increasing length and complexity. Each campaign has its own objectives. At the end of a turn, the game skips ahead 5 years and gives an update on the international situation. Every region can have up to six agents, each being able to play one card.

Overall: 7.5/10

Last Updated: May 31, 2011

Fate of the World

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