[Nintendo Switch] Foretales Review
Foretales from Dear Villagers and Alkemi is a card-based narrative journey with a board game feel. Learn more in our Foretales review!
Foretales from Dear Villagers and Alkemi is a card-based narrative journey with a board game feel. There’s a terrible curse making its way through the land, and the only one who might be able to put a stop to it is a thief known as Volepain. The clock is ticking, and as the potential apocalypse draws near, you must use the hand you’ve been dealt to shape the story that you’ll experience, leading you to one of Foretales’ potential endings. With a story narrated by Travis Willingham, who you know from a ton of projects such as Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach, Regular Show, Sonic Boom, Superman: Red Son, Time Crisis 4, The World Ends With You, Street Fighter V, The Last of Us, and web series Critical role.
Along with the narration and the overall premise, you’ll certainly be drawn in by the game’s gorgeous art style. With a large cast of anthropomorphic characters and a medieval fantasy setup, which at times reminded me of Disney’s classic Robin Hood cartoon from way back in 1973 – yes, it’s really been that long! The world presented to you certainly has a “lived in” look and feel to it. The music and sound effects also do a great job at complementing the game’s pacing and what you see on the screen.
My journey with Foretales began after Volepain, who is in desperate need of some money to help his father and the local miners, learns from his friend Léo that there’s a mysterious patron in town that has a very lucrative offer he should consider. After reading the aforementioned story intro from the first card in the game, Foretales kicks right into a tutorial that will teach you all of the basics for this narrative card-based experience, in which you’ll be combining cards from the provided decks in order to move the story forward… unless you make one too many mistakes and meet your end!
The game can be played either with the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con or use the console’s touchscreen when playing in Portable or Tabletop Mode or if playing Foretales on a Nintendo Switch Lite console. You’ll move a cursor with the left analog stick as you select cards with the A button to drop them onto the playing area to affect the current scenario or to battle against enemies. The A button can also be used to interact with some cards, which might trigger some additional dialogue or action. There are different sections of the board to keep in mind as you play through this wonderful journey.
Cards for your characters will be placed at the bottom center of the screen, which you can access with the Y button. You will have two types of action cards to use: skill cards for your adventurers and consumable cards. Skill cards will be placed on the bottom left, while consumable cards will be on the bottom right. You can quickly access them with the L and R buttons, respectively. You must pay attention to what each card can do so that you can always be thinking one step ahead. On the right side of the screen is the rest deck, with cards that can help to recover some skills cards for your group. Do keep in mind that you’ll be drawing the top card from the deck and that running out of cards from the rest deck can lead to a game over!
What will you need to do to progress through Foretales? As to not spoil things for you – since this is a game with many different story paths to take and a ton of replay value – I’ll talk a bit about the first scenario you find yourself in. While Léo has certainly given you a valuable tip about the aforementioned mysterious patron, finding him is not going to be easy! There’s a beggar on the street who says he might know where to find him, but it seems his memory is not what it used to be. If you could manage to bring him, say, five pieces of food, that might jog his memory!
Since you start with a single food card on your inventory, finding four more won’t be as easy as buying them from the local market… will it? You have two gold on you, so maybe if you go to the market, you’ll be able to use your money card to trade for some extra food. Once you’ve solved this scenario, the next card from the exploration deck on the left will be drawn, replacing one card on the board so that you can then work on a new quest, take some extra actions, or end up battling foes.
You can only play one card per location card on the board, and using one money card on the marketplace will replace it with another card – I got the poor district, where I could spend one gold to gain two fame – so you’ll have to find another way to obtain the two food that you’re still missing in order to please the beggar. But wait! You also have one fame on you! Fame is an important resource that can open many doors, so having a good standing with the community is always a good idea. As for this particular scenario, you can use one fame with the apple merchant to get two food, which would otherwise cost you four money, which you most certainly don’t have.
Selecting the right companions to join Volepain will prove to be crucial since each one will have different stats and skills that could end up turning the tide of battle or allow you to skip a conflict. Some scenarios will make these choices for you, but sometimes you’ll have more characters to choose from than slots on which to place them in your group. Take, for example, Léo. His skill cards include On the Scent, which makes it possible for him to track down food and places of interest, Aimed Shot, which unleashes a deadly shot in combat that can also defeat enemies from a distance without alerting others, or Rallying Cry, an inspiring call to arms for allies.
Foretales is a game I was looking forward to checking out on Nintendo Switch since card-based narrative-driven medieval fantasy-themed adventure with a lot of replay value ticks all of my boxes. The game’s presentation, music, and sound design, the narrator, and the gameplay mechanics all make for a very addictive journey that will keep you coming back for more, as you learn from your mistakes and use what you’ve learned to progress further and further down specific story paths. Knowing when you should negotiate your way out of a conflict and when you should battle your foes to save resources is a tricky balancing act, but it makes for a game that is one of the best experiences on Nintendo’s console. Foretales is available now with a $19.99 asking price.
This Foretales review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Dear Villagers.