Review: Fate of the World: Tipping Point

Review: Fate of the World: Tipping Point

Let’s be honest here, how hard could it really be to run a country? I mean you’ve got millions of people giving you their hard earned cash and entrusting you to do the right thing with it. It can’t be that hard can it? I’m sure everyone knows at least one person who says they have all the answers to the world’s problems yet somehow they don’t have all their teeth. So why not have a go at it? Better yet, why not try your hand at managing the entire freakin’ world!  I hope you paid attention in sociology class because you’re going to need it.

Fate of the World: Tipping Point

Fate of the World: Tipping Point throws you into that exact scenario as the entire world has just turned their fate over to you. Whatever you say and do is law, but you must live with the consequences of your actions. You’re going to find yourself frequently dealing with flash floods, natural disasters, rising emission levels, plummeting natural resources, global warming, rising sea beds, and whinny countries kicking you to the curb for not helping them find a cure for cancer fast enough.

It’s really hard to find an adequate comparison for this game simply because it is really unlike anything I’ve ever played before. Initially I was turned off by the game and its somewhat simplistic interface and true lack of explanation, but as with all games, a little time is all that is needed to see the gem underneath the rough, unattractive surface.

The game consists of various missions with very specific objectives, which initially made me think of Civilization, but that was instantly washed away when I realized that I would not have the joy of waging war on those obnoxious countries complaining about the fact that I cut their food supply and increased their nuclear fuel usage while decreasing security measures. ‘Buncha babies’ is what I told ‘em.

Fate of the World: Tipping Point

Everything is done via a complex card system that integrates itself with a tech style advancement tree. But before you even begin thinking about sifting through the deck you need to take a peek at what is going on around the world and decide what you must do to lend a helping hand.

Fate of the World: Tipping Point

The world is divided into 11 different regions and in order to be effective in that area you must recruit ambassadors who will help enforce your will upon the people. Once you have a solid presence within a particular region you can begin playing cards that will hopefully have a positive impact. Each recruit within a given region allows you to play one card so obviously the more recruits you have in an area the more influence you have. However, the recruits do not come cheap, so choose your locations wisely.

The cards are broken into a series of categories including Resources, Technology, Society, Political, Environment, and Projects. Each category contains relevant cards that can help alleviate growing tensions or stresses plaguing the region, but each card generally carries with it both positives and negatives. Now, you don’t want to just start slapping down bio-medical engineering cards to stimulate cancer cell research and cloning  in the middle of war torn North Africa. You’d probably end up with nothing more than an army of clones duking it out for all eternity. Rather, an interesting news system has been implemented to help you make the right choices.

At the start of each turn, which is comprised of a five year leap forward, you are presented with some of the major issues concerning the global economy at the time. You’ll be bombarded with everything from emission levels, global temperatures, population increases and the subsequent death impact to the status of particular regions and which animals are now extinct due to your crappy leadership choices.

Fate of the World: Tipping Point

Once you enter a specific region you must pour over the news articles in order to figure out which cards are best to lay in an attempt to prevent getting banned. If you make enough bad choices or ignore a region altogether you can be exiled and any existing issues will remain for years to come until you regain their trust – which usually means simply waiting for them to get over it. Did you get kicked out of Japan right as you were about to put a cap on their billowing emissions levels and nuclear plants melting down? Too bad. It looks like those are just going to have to wait another 20 years.

You have to exercise a bit of your political prowess when it comes to playing this game. The situations are incredibly real and superbly thought out with nations reacting exactly as you might expect them to. Forgetting to implement a general welfare office may very well lead to a nation of striking workers complaining about the low standards of living which in turn leads to militancy and thus an exorbitant  amount of your time and money is spent quelling that storm rather than figuring out how to get them to go green and save the whales.

Foresight is an absolute must because some procedures take decades to implement and if you forget to begin a run for technological advancement early in the game, some countries may not give you the time in the long run to do so. However, you can always just call in the black ops to force your will among the people.

Each card has the potential to unlock new cards in the tree, but you can’t just slap down a wad of cards at every turn. Each card costs a specific amount of money and some cards take several turns before they are effective, which ultimately means neither that card slot nor those funds are available until the law has been implemented. Money management becomes somewhat cumbersome towards the end of any given scenario because so many countries are vying for global attention and you must decide what’s more important: giving the hippies their organic cheese or finding out if those 33 nuclear plants in the center of Hong Kong are the reason everyone in immediate vicinity has 3 arms – *not a real scenario, but you get the point.

With that being said, the difficulty level of this game is absolutely absurd. I spent hours on the very first mission alone. The winning objective was simple: keep the global HDI below .7. Well, apparently I suck at managing global life because I was having about a hundred million people die each turn. Maybe it was all those road cards I kept forcing on everyone. Add trying to figure the game out on top of that and this is one insanely difficult game.

The Tipping Point add-on includes an easy mode, but who plays on easy? I did… and still lost. Except for the very last mission where the whole goal was to be a tyrannical dick and drive the world to Armageddon. I conquered that one first try on normal.

The interface is basic enough and easy to understand, but some minor tweaks could have made switching from News to Cards to Global view a bit smoother. Also, news stories themselves are a bit vague. I often found myself looking at a war torn area, reading the news and wondering ‘Alright, everyone’s pissed off at me, but what do they want me to do?’ Most of the stories give you a pretty decent idea of what needs to be done, but most of the time you will just be shooting in the dark and more often than not you are wrong and that can lead to a whole separate set of consequences.

If you are looking for a game to test your political knowledge in a semi-relevant setting than this game is exactly what you are looking for. As an educator myself I could certainly see this game being used in college classrooms to simulate the impact of various political choices on the world. The use of synthetic oils will certainly decrease the demand for natural oil, but is the increase in carbon emission truly worth the risk? Should you send the military into Russia to diffuse an armed conflict or do you exert your energy on friendly peace loving nations who are thriving? These are the types of questions you are going to find yourself asking throughout your time with the game.

At its core, Fate of the Word is a humanity simulator that addresses a good amount of problems plaguing our planet currently. However, the lack of any in-depth tutorial or help along the way make this game rather hard to pick up and play. Also, if you have an aversion to anything political or just don’t have a solid grasp on what makes the world turn, then this may not be your cup of tea because this game means business… and thanks to the insane difficulty level, most of the time that business roughly translates into, “No matter what you do, we are all going to burn up anyway, so go buy another SUV and point those aerosol cans to the sky and let loose.”

Score: 7/10

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