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Fates Of Ort is a clever action RPG mashup

My son is also named Ort

There was a time when actual arguments were had over the validity of "real time with pause" as a design choice. A foolish time we ought not to revisit. I bring it up because I've been playing Fates Of Ort, a light-hearted action RPG that's more like "pause with real time".

Everything is frozen in time until you move, swing a sword, or cast a spell, replacing the usual reflex-based clickfest with a measured pace. Combined with its intriguing magic system, it lets you combine conditions and spell effects without becoming a test of how many button sequences you've memorised. There's even a hint of bullet hell, an experience I evidently enjoy more (ie: at all) when I can pause, and a tiny pinch of Dark Souls in its respawning/healing system. It's fun stuff.

I often lose interest in Diablikes within the hour, but Ort's diversions leave it feeling faintly like the old Zelda games instead. It's more of an adventure, with lots of side quests for bonus items and to colour in the world. It does have randomly generated items, but fewer of them than is typical, so there's less time spent squinting at the stitching on marginally different hats.

A screenshot of Fates Of Ort, an action RPG where time stands still when you do.

Also, the magic. The big villain (probably?!) is roaming around corrupting everyone with apocalyptic powers. He's a fun character who pops up periodically to lecture and bully you away from an area. To fight him you need better magic, which comes from the Sisters, a trio of demigoddesses with a rock-paper-scissors deal going on. Each represents an element, strong against certain monsters and weak against others. Standard stuff, but you have to pick one and stick with her magic throughout, making for some replay value even before you discover that it matters whether you accept the villain's suspicious offer during the introduction.

If you reject him, your spells are powered by your own health, and the amount scalped from your HP increases the more you use each spell, forcing you to vary attacks. There's a thoughtful bar along the top that tracks which you've used most recently to make this easier, too. But if you accept, all your spells are free. No damage. Except the combat logs dutifully report that your magic is draining power from the land itself. Ulp. What does it mean? I don't yet know. It doesn't seem good, but who knows? Maybe combining his power with the Sisters' is the key? And should I resurrect my actual sister or is that a Bad Idea? I'm already relying heavily on items that explode corpses and a spell that turns dead monsters into loyal skeleton minions.... Hmmm.

Fates Of Ort is a great little thing all round, and an easy game to like.

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