Review: Fate of the Pharaoh

fate of the pharaoh - screenshot 1
Review: Fate of the Pharaoh

Platforms: Windows PC,iPad

Game Name: Fate of the Pharoah

Publisher: Big Fish Games

Developer: Cateia Games

Genre: Casual, Simulation

Release Date: August 2011, November 2011

Developer Summary

Take the role of brave young Pharaoh’s adviser and raise the golden cities of Egypt once again in this fun and beautiful strategy/management game.

Construct homes for your people, set-up production, trade, please gods, fight crocodiles and dangerous cobras while building monuments and famous wonders of Egyptian realm. And, be visited by aliens from space that will teach you secrets of how to build the mighty pyramids!

What We Think

If you’ve read my previous double-review of King’s Legacy & Shaman Odyssey (and if you haven’t, why not?), know that you are on familiar ground with Fate of The Pharaoh. I’d go as far as to say this is a spiritual successor to those two titles.

fate of the pharaoh - screenshot 1

While the previous two games from Cateia were set in a medieval kingdom and a chain of tropical islands respectively, Pharaoh finds you on the banks of the Nile trying to build a mighty civilization.

While Fate of The Pharaoh is still a resource collection and time management game, the gameplay has become much more focused. You no longer have an avatar in-game, instead simply clicking on buildings and interface. Resources are generated by different building types rather than by aimlessly wandering the game-world. Enemy invaders are no longer an issue. What you’re left with is a fast paced, yet never frantic, game. While I really enjoyed Legacy and Odyssey, Pharaoh is a considerable improvement because of this newfound focus.

Ancient Beginnings

Fate of The Pharaoh is very linear, starting off slowly with very simple instructional missions, then adding more complicated mechanics in phases in order to ease in new players. Thankfully, even during the early stages the pace is quick enough that someone used to this style of play doesn’t have enough time to become bored.

Even casual games like this often include at least one or two decision points from mission to mission, and they would have been nice here, but that’s really a minor issue. (Sadly, the early build I played through ended abruptly at level 25, so perhaps it branches past there, but from the look of the map I don’t think so.) At least there are a few unique build missions, requiring you to build things such as pyramids and a sphinx.

Fate of the Pharaoh - building screenshot

The artwork, as you can see from the screenshots, if very cute and cartoony, which works very well in this instance. Animation and interface are very smooth, letting you keep your mind on building and off the mechanics.

OK, short lesson in game dynamics. Players need an incentive to keep playing, right? Of course they do, we all know that. Often this comes in the way of points, sometimes gaining a level, sometimes gaining new abilities. One of the latest concepts is the noble achievement. It’s really just a way to give the player a pat on the back for doing something that doesn’t quite fall into any of the other categories. Sure, a lot of games include achievements for gaining X levels, or completing mission X, but they should really be filed at the Redundancy Bureau of Superfluous Excess.

And that’s sort of one of the few problems with Fate of The Pharaoh – each level has its own points meter, which is good. Each level has a timer, that if completed before it runs out gives you serious bonus points. Also good. If you beat the timer, you also get a shiny gold star beside the completed level on the main map. OK … I guess. You already get bonus points for it, but whatever. Then, you get an achievement for every so many levels you get a gold star on. That’s it.

The only achievements are doubly redundant. I know people like to get their egos stroked, but remember when accomplishing something was considered enough of a reward, in and of itself? It’s a problem that doesn’t impact on enjoying the game, so feel free to ignore this paragraph; I just had to get that off my chest.

The one really problem with Fate of The Pharaoh is that it’s too easy. Unless the second half, that I didn’t get to play, ramps up the action considerably you’re probably going to blow through the game in a matter of hours. I managed to gold star all but one level on my first try. That isn’t all that unusual for a casual game though. Grandma and the kids certainly aren’t going to find it as easy, and you’ll have fun none the less.

I think that might be the right niche here; a solid game you can get the kids (8+ maybe) to sit down and have fun, with the advantage that they’ll be learning a bit about management and economy. Sure, it’s a very small bit, but it’s a start.

Get Fate of the Pharaoh at Cateia Games

[xrr rating=”4/5″]

2 thoughts on “Review: Fate of the Pharaoh

  1. Never was a big fan of Big Fish games, I didn’t like their little game company. I’d rather play Starcraft than some little egyptian strategy game.

    Cool, but without multiplayer I would never pay money for this. You could find flash games that would beat this in terms of rating. 4/5 is a bit generous, eh Patrick?

  2. Not really. This isn’t looking to be Starcraft. It’s a very casual game and, as such, it’s quite good. I wouldn’t even call it a strategy game. It’s like complaining that Diner Dash isn’t hardcore enough. I can see putting this on an iPad and playing it in 10-30 minute bursts while waiting for something.

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