The time it takes to finish Fate Of Kai depends on two things: your problem-solving ability and your attitude towards comic panels. This game is an interactive graphic novel/comic – whichever you prefer, where you control the fate of Kai.

I first played a Fate Of Kai demo during one of the Steam Game Festivals and promptly added it to my list as one to watch. You play the titular character as he arrives in an unfamiliar land and promptly stumbles upon a treasure chest. Little does he realise that interacting with it would serve both as a figurative and literal burden.

The story and gameplay take place through conventional comic strip panels. A thought bubble appears in key scenes that allows you to input a command. This isn’t a text-based adventure where you can start typing ‘pee’ and ‘poo’ to be funny. Instead, you click on the available verbs, and they’ll be added to your inventory. From here, you drag and drop them when the opportunity arises.

Fate Of Kai - The burden
The burden. Source: Screen capture

Fate Of Kai gameplay, except for one timed section, moves at your pace, and you can shift back and forth in the story (and time) by clicking on an arrow on either side of the screen. When I first encountered the game from Trylight Game Studio and The Game Publisher, I said it was like choosing your own adventure, but there’s only one solution. To get to that solution, you have to jump back and forth in the narrative and manipulate the scenes by choosing the appropriate command. 

Regardless, I didn’t personally feel frustrated with this, though I did wonder if I’d ballsed things up when entering a maze-like area as I was stuck in a loop. The challenge element in Fate Of Kai will depend on the person, but I’d say it borders more on easy than difficult.

I’m not the biggest fan of comic books – that is, I don’t read or collect them, but have read a decent share over the years. However, I do have a keen interest in illustration, and something that always crops up in my reviews; story. Fate Of Kai comes across as sweet and innocent. It is. But it’s layered with some underlying messages – nothing preachy or overly deep unless you want to make it that way.

Fate Of Kai - Mine craft
Mine…craft. Source: Screen capture

As a graphic novel, the highlight is the illustrations, and I have to say I really liked them. They were charming and had a unique style to them. It was quite a hybrid technique as there were Disney and Don Bluth techniques, but all original. There weren’t any characters that had me thinking of anything else, except some characters looking like they were friendlier NPCs from Absolver. The music throughout is quite magical, too.

Steam playtime is never accurate for me as sometimes I might leave a game running while jotting down some notes or sign into another account. In short, I’d say it took me just over an hour for my first playthrough. However, I immediately played again, getting an achievement too – yay! But that wasn’t the reason (I had no idea).

I immediately replayed to appreciate the art and analyse the concept in the obscure way I do things. I often read through the story and glance over the art in those few moments where I read a manga or graphic novel. There’s no correct way to read these things – do what you like! For me, it’s a pattern of reading the story, then going back and doing it again and spending more time on the illustrations, then a third, maybe fourth attempt flipping through to my favourite bits. That’s precisely what I did here with Fate Of Kai.

It’ll last as long as you want to make it, and for me, it’s a game I recommend to any comic books fans, casual gamers, people who might not have the time to dedicate 70+ hours to skim the surface of a story, or for those who want something fresh to charm your pants off. If you’re going commando, perhaps a glide of the cheeks. No matter what terrible examples I come up with, Fate Of Kai was worthy of being on that list I complied and glad I experienced it.