Fate Tectonics

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Fate Tectonics Game Poster Image
World-building puzzler ruined by frustrating, childish gods.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Encourages, rewards players for being creative, building sensible, habitable worlds but also revels in destruction of these worlds, their populations.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player's "maker" character switches between world-creation, world-destruction activities while dealing with the maniacal whims of petulant gods.

Ease of Play

Simple point-and-click interface. Tile-matching system is straightforward, but minimal explanations are provided for how some game mechanics work, which could lead to frustration. 

Violence

Pixelated gods rain down destruction on villages; players eventually bring doom to their own worlds via meteorites, floods, ice ages, other forms of natural catastrophe. Bird's-eye perspective prevents players from seeing individual people get killed; towns simply disappear from the map.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fate Tectonics is a downloadable world-building puzzler that has players laying landscape tiles with an aim to appease a group of gods. This world, which is gradually populated by tiny towns, is frequently laid to ruin and even completely destroyed not only by easy-to-irk deities but also the player, who is commanded to bring a catastrophic end to his or her creation at the end of each chapter via meteorites, deluges, pollution, and other calamities. The impact of this destruction is mitigated by the game's bird's-eye perspective (players can't see or hear anyone get killed when towns are destroyed) and a decidedly old-school pixel-art presentation that doesn't allow for much visual detail. 

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What's it about?

Players are tasked with making a beautiful world and then destroying it in FATE TECTONICS, a tile-based puzzle and strategy game. The story mode leads players through a series of timed chapters where they must build sprawling worlds while appeasing a group of petulant gods floating nearby. Each of the four sides of every randomly generated tile has an attribute -- prairies, mountains, water, forest, and the like -- that needs to match the sides of any tiles it's placed next to. As the game progresses, new gods show up to provide new tile-laying abilities, but each of these gods has an idea of how the world you're building ought to look. Your goal is to keep all of them happy so they don't throw temper tantrums, which can destroy huge swaths of the world. But even if you manage to keep the gods at bay, each chapter ends with the player tasked to destroy the world he or she created with a variety of disasters that include floods, pollution, meteorites, and sinkholes.   

Is it any good?

Fate Tectonics succeeds in about half of what it tries to do. The puzzle-based tile-laying component is a lot of fun. Fitting the perfect tile into a gap in your map is satisfying, as is seeing a world of your own design gradually take shape and become populated by towns and sea ships. Even destroying all your hard work at the end of a stage can be fun, thanks largely to the range of imaginative ways in which it can be done. Where things start to go downhill, unfortunately, is in dealing with the gods. Keeping them all happy is very difficult (perhaps even impossible), mostly because the game doesn't clearly explain how they'll react to each kind of tile you can lay or how you lay it. It feels like a guessing game, especially once multiple gods are in play. And when you fail to please one, it'll often destroy about half of the map, leaving you struggling to recover even as the other gods begin losing their tempers and ruining other parts of your creation. Reaching the end of most stages -- especially longer ones that come later in the game -- feels more like a relief than an accomplishment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Fate Tectonics encourages players to destroy populated worlds of their own design with extinction-level catastrophe; how did you feel when destroying them?

  • Talk about the personification of the game's gods. Throughout history people have imagined deities with human-like emotions, interests, and tempers -- does this seem plausible to you? If gods exist, how do you think they would be different from mortals?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $9.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Toy Temp
  • Release date: September 8, 2015
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Topics: Magic and Fantasy
  • ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love puzzles

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