Leap of Fate popped up in Steam’s “popular new releases” section this week, so I decided to give it a shot on a whim. Surprise: it’s rad. Think Binding of Isaac in an occult-tinged cyberpunk setting, with a really cool structure, and you’re there.

OK, that’s kind of... a lot. Maybe it would be better if I just showed you. Here’s a video of me playing the game:

Here are some things I’m digging about this one:

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The setting. It’s not like “cyberpunk meets angsty wizard men” has never been done before (hi, Shadowrun), but it’s pretty unique for this style of game. On top of that, Leap of Fate lets its thematic underpinnings ooze into its every grimy crevice, even structure and progression. Speaking of...

Shadow Walk. Have you ever wanted to crash into a bunch of jerks, and then crash through them, and then emerge unscathed on the other side and be like, “You are all a bunch of jerks, and I crashed into you, and then through you, emerging unscathed on the other side”? Well, that’s how Shadow Walk, one of Leap of Fate’s main attacks/movement mechanics, works. It’s like being a bowling ball, but also a ghost. Lining up a whole bunch of enemies and knocking them down in a moment of perfectly planned (or harrowingly improvised) chaos is oh-so-satisfying.

Level progression. Unlike, say, Binding of Isaac, which unfolds as a randomized series of rooms, Leap of Fate deals you a handful of cards. When you select a card, you warp into it for some kind of encounter (combat, treasure, a store, harder combat, etc), and there’s this cool effect where the border of the card stays on the screen. It’s like you leaped through a window (to another worrrrrrrrrrld) or something. It looks stylish as hell, where everyone has manbuns, but it also allows for some nice quality of life features. Did an enemy drop a locked chest, but you don’t have a key? No worries. After you find a key, you can always just warp back into that card. Super simple. No wasted resources.

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Levels. Leap of Fate’s levels take a number of cues from action games, with environmental interaction adding an extra layer of strategy. The most basic example is, as ever, blowing shit up. Are a bunch of enemies clustered near a car? Blow that sucker sky high. There’s also nice variety to levels, both in terms of appearance and structure.

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Leveling-up. Even Leap of Fate’s skill trees are randomized. So far I’ve enjoyed discovering new abilities during every run and coming up with new skill builds on the fly, though I have to admit that it might ultimately end up being a case of too much randomness. Roguelikes are at their best when there’s at least a tiny anchor of consistency, something to plan around.

Something else with the word “level” in it, probably. Leveling structures in the environment? No wait, I already did that with the whole “blowing up cars” thing.

So yeah, I definitely recommend this one. It’s flying a bit under-the-radar in this week of Hyper Light Drifting and Gate Balduring, but it’s worth checking out if you’ve got a spare minute or, at the rate I’m going, 40 hours.

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