From the font style to the hour glass loading symbol, Fable Fortunes is undeniably a Fable game. To those of us that thought we might never see a Balverine or a Hobbe again, it’s nice to see the IP rejuvenated – even if the monsters and heroes are now just cards. The Fable charm is strong throughout and is the strongest selling point that Fable Fortune has, as sadly, the game itself is nothing to write home about in its current form.
The gameplay is a pretty standard card game loop. You and your opponent both have a health pool which must be reduced to 0 to win. You do this by playing cards (monsters and humans) who each have attack points and health points. Each card costs a certain amount to play and you build up this currency with each turn that passes. It essentially means that the stakes of your game get higher the longer you go on for because more powerful cards can be played. It’s a fun, but standard approach to card gaming.
There is differentiation depending on what type of deck you choose to play. Cards fall into six types; Alchemist, Gravedigger, Knight, Merchant, Prophet, and Shapeshifter. Each of these deck types has strengths and weaknesses, but also unique plays styles that go alongside them. For example, the Knight deck is all about summoning weaker cards and increasing their strength and the Shapeshifter deck is all about dealing damage fast and stunning enemies to prevent retaliation. Card packs (which you’re given 10 of when you start the game) can be earned through levelling up and allow you to edit and build these decks out further.
In addition to the cards in your deck and the general style, each deck also has a deck leader. All the deck leaders have their own little description which adds a bit of flavour. These are cool as they have their own artwork and flavour text, but also have a Hero Power that can inflict damage, summon additional units or do other useful things.
There isn’t a huge learning curve on the game. A training mode is offered to allow you to get a feel for the rules and how the game plays out. It’s useful but not necessary. Anyone who has played Hearthstone before will be familiar with the format of the game. Your training partner is the Guildmaster from the original Fable game which is one nice aspect of it. I feel like I should mention that the game timed out on me when I was playing the training mode for the first time. It essentially crashed and sent me back to the main menu.
The card artwork is average at best with many of the cards supporting basic imagery. The artwork doesn’t look very good when the cards are played either. It’s a shame because the presentation of Fable was always something I found charming. That same charm is missing from the cards.
I did have a few other issues with the game when I played it. I know it’s tough to judge these thing in Early Access but I didn’t feel he match making system was particularly good. Obviously, the player pool is much smaller in a game in Early Access but it really threw off my experience. I either couldn’t find a game at all or I was paired against someone with much better cards. There was also no timer system for turns so when I found slow opponents the games dragged on and killed the pace completely. In terms of the co-op mode, I tried on three separate occasions to find a game. I waited 15 minutes each time and couldn’t one.
Truthfully, I was disappointed with Fable Fortunes. The game prevented me from enjoying myself by putting up barriers to playing the game (like poor matchmaking and systems crashing) and even when I did get going I found myself playing a basic card game with very little depth.