Review – Half Past Fate: Romantic Distancing

At the time of this review’s writing, we’re still facing the nightmarish nuisance that is the COVID-19 pandemic. We haven’t seen close friends or relatives as frequently as we used to, we don’t go out nowhere nearly as much, and most importantly, meeting new people and starting new relationships has been a freaking near-impossible nightmare. Half Past Fate: Romantic Distancing shows exactly that situation. It tells a very relatable story about people who have just started to date right when the COVID pandemic started, and the struggles caused by not actually being able to see each other in person.

Half Past Fate: Romantic Distancing

Dude, have you ever played Doom?

In Half Past Fate: Romantic Distancing, you play as Stephen and Robin, a couple that met by chance and started dating a few days before the pandemic, without ever being able to ever go out on an actual date. The game showcases how the two become closer with the limited technological resources they have in order to actually be able to see each other, such as talking on the phone and doing virtual dates via some kind of Zoom knockoff.

Half Past Fate: Romantic Distancing Dialogue

And I wanted to be a scientist.

This is a nonviolent game with nearly no puzzles at all. It’s all about dialogue choices and witnessing the consequence of your actions. It’s not exactly the worst thing in the world, despite being just a few steps above your typical visual novel. The game’s presentation makes up for that, as it features an excellent chiptune soundtrack and pretty good visuals. Every single character is a 2D sprite interacting on a 3D environment which still features retro-styled textures, in the same fashion as Octopath Traveler, believe it or not. All characters in the game are incredibly well-animated as well.

I’m not usually fond of games like this, but Half Past Fate: Romantic Distancing felt somewhat relatable, as I myself tried to maintain relationships during the pandemic. The characters were also quite likable. I was quickly hooked on the story… then it ended.

I’m from the future and I’m here to tell you that they won’t cope well. At all.

Yep, the game ended after just an hour, maybe even less. The moment the plot started becoming interesting, with a few dramatic moments, the game quickly tied things up and called it a day. That annoyed the living hell out of me. I get it, not all games need to be long and the pacing is usually as important, if not more important, than the length itself. However, the ending felt so abrupt and anticlimactic that it ended up tarnishing my perception of the whole game. I was ready for an actual emotional ride, only for the game to tell me that I had already seen everything it had to offer.

Sure, there are multiple dialogue options that result in different outcomes, but the game will always end abruptly right when things become interesting. This doesn’t exactly motivate me to play it again, even if it’s just an hour long. It makes me want to forget about it altogether, honestly.

Slow down dude, I can’t handle that much philosophy at once.

Right when Half Past Fate: Romantic Distancing starts becoming interesting… it ends. It had so much potential, as this is a relatable story featuring some of the most likable characters I’ve seen in a while, but it ends so abruptly you can’t help but feel massively disappointed. This could (and should) have been a much better experience if it wasn’t just a mere hour long.

 

Graphics: 7.5

The visuals are comprised of incredibly well-animated pixel art characters interacting in a polygonal, but cleverly textured environment.

Gameplay: 5.0

The controls are simple, the game runs well enough, and there are a few dialogue options that change the outcome of the plot. Besides this, there might be one or two “puzzles” in the entire game

Sound: 7.0

Half Past Fate: Romantic Distancing‘s well-composed chiptune soundtrack is easily one of its main highlights.

Fun Factor: 3.5

Right when Half Past Fate: Romantic Distancing starts becoming interesting… it ends. This could (and should) have been a much better experience if it wasn’t just a mere hour long.

Final Verdict: 5.0

Half Past Fate: Romantic Distancing is available now on PC and Switch.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Half Past Fate: Romantic Distancing was provided by the publisher.