It is apparently a good week to not spend money on games. Not only is The Flame in The Flood still gratis via Humble, but the similarly delicious-looking cartoon action-adventure Stories: The Path of Destinies by Spearhead Games is currently free on Steam. Grab it now, keep it forever and play it a whole bunch of times because this one is built for the long-haul, if you don’t mind a little repetition.
Stories is a lovely-looking fantasy hack n’ slash adventure, perhaps making more than a nod or two to Bastion. It even borrows the concept of a reactive narrator. While this particular narrator clearly isn’t quite as charming (or actively verbose) as Logan Cunningham, he does a decent enough job of keeping you appraised of what’s going on both in the world, and within the protagonist’s head. But that’s the lesser of Stories’ two big features – the other is made pretty clear in the trailer below.
A given playthrough of Stories isn’t especially long – maybe a couple hours at most – but based on your decisions at various key story branches (with more options opened up by foresight from previous playthroughs), it can end up at any of 24 possible endings, plus one, final, definitive ending if you’re really willing to put in the time and effort. The only real issue there is that there’s no option to skip through chapters you’ve already seen, so you’ll probably experience a bit of repetition along the way.
Despite the colourful, outwardly cheerful nature of Stories, many of the endings are surprisingly dark. Vulpine protagonist Reynardo is a roguish sky-pirate by trade, which gives him a little more moral leeway than most. Depending on just how you want to play it, your path may end up more than a little blood-soaked, but if you want to see everything, you might have to play the bad-guy sometimes.
So, why are Spearhead Games giving away Stories: The Path of Destinies? Simple; To promote their upcoming spiritual successor/pseudo-sequel Omensight, which is due out in just three days. Omensight’s twist is a little more Groundhog Day; the end of the world is coming, triggered by the death of the Godless Priestess. Who killed her? You’ve got no idea, but a few trips through the world’s last day might give you enough information to prevent everything going pear-shaped. It looks really rather nice, and you can check out a trailer and wishlist it here on Steam.