This game would be more aptly named ‘The Path of Stories’ because upon playing you’ll discover that the game has more than 24 different types of story outcomes. I’m a sucker for a good narrative, but when you add in decision-making that affects the story; you’ve got me hooked.
You play as Reynoldo, a retired Fox pilot who is just at the end of his days of adventure when he is tasked with saving a special book, which will also help him save the world. The game starts off with a civil war between a kingdom emperor and its citizens. While the emperor Toad has embarked on a scheme to revive the old gods and become immortal, a rebellion is quickly forming to stop the once loved toad and save the entire world of impending dire doom.
Reynoldo must make choices throughout his journey, including wrong ones, so that he can uncover four truths about his world. The book allows him to play through the same scenario of saving the world over and over, using what he’s learned in previous playthroughs to make more and better choices.
Every choice made by the player matters, and only one set of choices allows the player to get the happy ending. The first few playthroughs are a delight, especially as more areas of each level get unlocked, meaning that Reynoldo can take different paths to get to where he’s going. At the end of each story, Reynoldo meets an untimely end but uncovers a truth that teaches him what he did wrong.
My favourite part is the fantasy world of Stories, the bright, beautiful and brilliant worlds are a delight to explore. From a world encased in ice, to a world of skies filled with flying ships to a desert that harbors a powerful and dangerous weapon, each locale is beautifully-crafted, thanks to the use of some great cel-shading. But what really sells Stories is the narrator, who reads the story from the magical book as if he’s reading a bedtime tale to a child. He even changes his voice for each character in a way that is both entertaining and endearing.
I’d have to say its biggest failings would be that Stories: The Path of Destinies has a lot of bugs, its frame rate for one as well as its fairly vanilla gameplay. The concept is fantastic and I love the storytelling but it loses out in poor execution. Overall, Stories: The Path of Destinies strives to do something different with game storytelling, and it definitely succeeds in that mission. If you can get past the repetition of the story, the bugs in the game as well as the ultimately unimaginative combat system it’s ultimately worth it.
Stories: The Path of Destinies was developed and published by Spearhead Games for PC and PS4.