What They Say:
How far will you go to get your deepest wish granted? In The Game of Fourtune, help guide Clyde & Devon through this cruel game of life and death. Only one participant will get their wish granted. Four rounds and four deaths each round, are you ready to see if fortune is on your side?
The Game of Fourtune does an impressive job of creating a Zero Escape meets Alice in Borderland-style visual novel, all things considered. Given that I have never heard of developer BlackLock Games and we are starved for serious death game visual novels, The Game of Fourtune certainly kept me entertained.
It is a straightforward visual novel about two protagonists, Clyde and Devon, who find themselves thrusted into a mysterious death game in hopes of winning it and getting their wish granted. The twist, of course, if that there are eight pairs of two each for a total of 16 players and only one of them can get their wish granted.
Starting out as Clyde, there is a massive tree of all the various paths and choices you can make throughout the game a la Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward. With around 16 different endings and choices that truly matter, The Game of Fourtune immediately fixes my issue with similar visual novels.
You get to know the 16 characters and the wonderful divine host of the game over the course of the game, with each route taking me roughly 2-3 hours to complete, depending on how fast I was reading and whether or not I skipped some of the filler.
As a game that is solely dependent on the choices you make and otherwise no additional gameplay mechanics, I’ll admit that the writing is decent. For a first attempt at a death game like this, The Game of Fourtune has fairly solid characters and plot.
There are plenty of moments of filler content like discussing random aspects of life and what’s going on around them, but it serves a purpose usually for character development and doesn’t last all that long.
The characters are also quite varied, not necessarily falling into all of the general tropes and stereotypes that I’ve come to expect from this game. Each of the pairs have their own motivations for entering the game and dynamic relationships that they have and build over the course of the various playthroughs.
As for The Game of Fourtune itself, it plays out across all paths in pretty much the same format: there are four rounds with four players going through each door that knock out four or so players until one player is left who gets their wish granted. The games change each time, with some being a free-for-all, others being pair on pair games, and still others being crazy combinations like three versus one.
I played through the game five different times to see five of the core endings in the game, and saw various games like a torture game where you pick the torture method for your opponent and they do the same for you until one side dies.
There was another game where the players simply had to travel through various environments and divide up safety tents between them in order to survive the dangers, with a nice twist at the end.
But my favorite had to be the Alice in Borderland-style game where each player had a different card symbol behind them that only the other players could see. The goal was to seek out the traitor in the group and lie to kill them first before they took out the innocent three players. It certainly didn’t hide its inspiration and I didn’t mind that, as it was a fantastic game.
The Game of Fourtune rises and falls on these games and the 16 core characters. This is mainly because there is a huge problem with the overall premise of this title. While I won’t spoil it here, there are some decisions made in the overarching plot that lessens some of the impacts of certain elements.
It was a shame to see it go this route when it could have been handled in a different way but I still enjoyed each ending once I took them for what they are. However, what I couldn’t get over was the art in this game.
I have played some indie visual novels like this in the past and the character designs were quite disappointing and inconsistent. Characters would look one way most of the time and then a special scene would appear and they’d look completely different, nearly unrecognizable.
In fact, it was to the point where I dreaded the rare special art as they looked much worse than the fairly manageable normal character designs. It’s a shame because there is otherwise something interesting and exciting here; I just hope that the art can be improved in any future attempts.
In this way, The Game of Fourtune is by no means a bad game. In fact, I enjoyed my time exploring the five routes I’ve already done and I fully intend to see all of them through to the end over time. If anything, this gives me hope for a new developer that can make my favorite type of visual novel.
The Game of Fourtune is an admirable attempt to blend together games like the flowchart from Zero Escape with the various intriguing games of something like Alice in Borderland. Let’s be clear: the art and character designs range from just barely passable to honestly horrible but that is the one diminishing quality of this otherwise enjoyable game.
If you can look past that and appreciate the usually passable characters in conversations, The Game of Fourtune never fails to mix it up with character moments, various death games, and choices that ultimately matter. While the overarching plot falls short, the journey there is a wild and surprisingly solid ride in terms of writing and characters.
Developer: BlackLock Games
Publisher: BlackLock Games
Release Date: March 14, 2023
Platform: PC (reviewed)
This review was done with a review copy provided by the publisher. We are grateful for their continued support.