Fates Forever [Free (HD)] is a MOBA. This isn't so much a description of the game's genre, as it is acknowledging what the game's intent is. It's a MOBA for iPad – and it's meant to make as few concessions as possible toward providing a full-fledged MOBA experience. What this means is that the game isn't really meant for pick-up-and-play sessions, but it stands out because of it: it's a limited-compromise game that can be played for hours on end on an iPad.

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Fates Forever doesn't monkey around too much with the MOBA structure: it's a 3-on-3 game, about advancing on the enemy's base, destroying their towers by using critters which advance down the north and south lanes, as protection from towers' damage. And of course, taking out enemy critters so that they don't get to your towers is important. As is taking out the opponent heroes, for the extra experience and so that there's one less powerful enemy attacking you temporarily, with longer respawns as the game goes on. Powers can be attained and upgraded with level-ups, though these powers won't affect towers and bases. What I've done is to describe pretty much any generic MOBA that is out there, and while certainly Fates Forever has its own little tweaks from countless other games, these differences are just the natural differences between games in the same genre, not a radical departure from any formula.

Now, this isn't a game meant to be played in short bursts. Rounds certainly feel quicker than most MOBAs: 15 minutes is a good expectation. But I've had matches go for almost half an hour. This is a game meant to be sat down and enjoyed on the couch, not to be picked up on a whim to just kill a couple minutes or even if you have 15 minutes, because a match can go indefinitely. It's built against that, but it certainly is a possibility.

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And that's the interesting thing about Fates Forever: is it a problem that it's not really built for typical mobile play sessions and experiences? Perhaps not – this is one of the few games where it's possible to sit back with an iPad, and get an extended, cohesive experience that does as little sugarcoating as possible. It's the rare full experience that can be enjoyed on an iPad. Just because it's an iPad game, doesn't mean that it has to be a quick experience. Tablets are meant to be used for longer amounts of time. So why not have a game that can be played for a long time with it? The lengthier sessions do limit when and where the game will be played, but not in a bad way, just through its nature.

Controls-wise, everything can be done with one finger, with the exception of recalling to the base, which is done by tapping and holding with two fingers. Abilities are triggered by tapping on the left side of the screen, and ones that require aiming involve tapping and dragging from the center of the character to aim them. Tapping a spot will move there, tapping an enemy will get in range to attack them, with some auto-targeting of enemy mobs. The game can get a bit hectic, so it's nice to know that it's generally smart about attacking because you can't micromanage every single enemy you attack. The only issue with the controls is that if you are going left, it's possible to accidentally trigger abilities, while, say, frantically escaping from an enemy hero to the safety of a tower.

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The online play generally works well: sometimes the game is unstable during peak hours, when menus will be unresponsive and finding a game will be functionally slow, but once in-game, I've had few issues. There's options for voice chat, to party up with friends, and post-game chat, though no in-game text chat as far as I could tell, so unless you're using voice, you might just need to play intelligently and hope teammates will do so as well.

The game does a great job at getting players into the game, with an involved tutorial that explains the game's nuances. Then, it's not possible to get to PVP matches until level 5, requiring that players get acclimated to the game through bot matches and online matches of a team of humans versus bots. This means that in PVP, everyone should know what they're doing, but it can be a bit of a slog to get to PVP. As well, bot matches can lead to different expectations of how games will go, because bots are not human, of course. They don't act the way that humans do. So prepare for a bit of a change when getting into actual PVP matches.

Fates Forever is free-to-play, and not pay-to-win at all. The monetization comes through permanently unlocking new characters, using either slowly-accrued soft currency through playing games and completing missions, or by buying hard currency to get them outright. That's it, but the characters don't come cheap. There is a $19.99 option to unlock all the characters and a few future ones (a value claimed to be worth $84.99), and the smallest hard currency pack is $4.99. If you're paying, you're paying decent chunks of cash for a mobile free-to-play game – but it's quite possible to not pay at all. Several characters are available for free, rotating out periodically. And of course, playing again and again to buy them all is an option.

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Fates Forever is ultimately quite the fun game, and that's because, well, it's a MOBA and it doesn't go too far outside the beaten path of what the genre has dictated. But it's novel in part because it's a full-size MOBA that can be played on an iPad, it doesn't worry too much that mobile games are 'supposed' to be shorter experiences. It nails the thrills of the genre: getting multi-kills on enemy heroes, watching as a seeming defeat turns into a thrilling comeback, marching into the enemy base slowly and steadily. Building out the perfect item set with your character, be they more of a tank, or perhaps a ranged character. Everything that has made this genre so popular is here, but on an iPad, and with making only the necessary acquiescences to what the device is, and perhaps playing a bit quicker than established games. But it goes to show that just because a game is on the iPad, it doesn't have to be an 'iPad game' – it can just be a game that is played on an iPad. And this is a worthy MOBA, on an iPad.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Ubisububi

    I must admit that my prejudice against F2P caused me to miss this gem. The gameplay is great and the persistent nature of the purchases makes this game a premium title in freemium clothing.

    I am humbled.

    • Stormourner

      that's why no one should judge the entire freemium games because of a single freemium game

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      • Morgan01

        Unfortunately, it's not just one Freemium game, but many that sour the opinion of "Freemium" games in general. Freemium models are not necessarily bad as long as they are done reasonably. Sadly, many are not done reasonably and expect players to pay by emptying their wallets. Still, there are some very good Freemium titles available. Fortunately, TA is a forum that draws attention to some of these gems.

      • Morgan01

        Although when you see a $50.00 IAP option, it doesn't help people's opinions.

      • Spore Productions

        That's like walking into a shoe store and complaining about there being $500 shoes as well as $20 shoes. If you don't want $500 shoes, then don't buy them.

      • Stormourner

        let's say some people don't play freemium games correctly, take MinoMonsters (I'm the biggest fan) as an example when ever I get the same legendary stone they ask me to pay for more fossils which of course I refuse to do it

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      • MidianGTX

        Nah, let's say that most of them are designed to squeeze money out of vulnerable people.

      • Stormourner

        I ain't vulnerable and not everyone is vulnerable

      • MidianGTX

        That doesn't change the design.

    • Lisa R. Johnson

      just optional unlocks which can easily be paid by ingame currency, and they plan to include skins, updates, 5v5 and tons more. This is a gem!

      • Skyfluks

        Dude why did you copy my comment :p..

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  • crashmonkey

    I'm curious as to how this compares to, and how people feel about, Solstice Arena. I know, i know, it's a Zynga game. But the gameplay and controls feel pretty similar to me. How different is this really?

    • Levanax

      It's nothing like solstice arena. Much closer to league of legends 3v3 map. Two lanes and a jungle. I played a lot of solstice and it's great for short bursts but this is a complete moba experience and a highly polished one to boot. It's free so I definitely recommend taking a look. I bought the launch bundle more to support the devs than because I felt I wouldn't be able to earn the toons I liked through play. No paywall at all.

      • crashmonkey

        thanks for the replies (everyone) I will definitely be checking this out.

    • Mike Walko

      I only played SA a few times, but I just didn't like the game. The controls and movement felt a bit sluggish to me. This game feels a bit more fast paced. I wish they would make a 5v5 game though, just in general, for a tablet.

    • TigerBoat

      I could never get in a match on SA. I'd wait 10 minutes and then give up. I played a lot of Heroes of Order and Chaos, though.

      • loophole

        I wish this was on iphone 🙁

  • thefub

    This game is well done but I am not sure if I enjoy the 3v3 format( with 2 lanes). In this format ,similar to League of Legends, the meta is to simply attack the heroes/contestants. This does not allow for much farming building stategies.

    • Ultima12

      They've talked about eventually adding a 5v5 map in the future. I asked them about it on Twitch.

      • thefub

        That would be great. Thank you for the info.
        Did they give a time frame on that possibility?

      • Ultima12

        No. They said that for now their focus is on the game as it is.

  • Skyfluks

    I've been in the beta for almost a year now, and I have to say it is amazing what the developers managed to accomplished with this. They really value the idea of 'no compromises', and you can tell they do by just playing 1 match. Just give it a try, you'll be amazed. No pay to win, just optional unlocks which can easily be paid by ingame currency, and they plan to include skins, updates, 5v5 and tons more. This is a gem!

  • oscar123967

    I am dying for an iPhone version lol. I play HOC just fine on iPhone. I know its better on a bigger screen, but I really enjoy gaming on my phone better.

  • Stormourner

    a perfect rating!! well done, Hammer & Chisel =D

  • Trahannn

    I wish that mobile MOBA's and RPGs would do keyboard comparability for the use of hot keys. I think it would change the pace of the games extremely. Could get use to tapping the screen to attack/move and using skills/potions with keys.

    • Trahannn


    • Stormourner

      even the mouse is perfect for the MOBAs

    • crashmonkey

      yeah, but then it gives an unfair advantage against touch only users. it's the whole argument of consoles vs. pc. people with kb & m would crush users with a controller every time.

      • Trahannn

        It's like people playing with mfi controllers. They have an advantage as well.

  • negman

    My phone gives me a push notification about this article. I click on it. Read the article. I still have no idea what the hell a MOBA is.

    • dancj

      I know it stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.

      Not a full answer but it's all I've got.

    • the_rebel14

      As was said, MOBA stands for 'Multiplayer Online Battle Arena'. It's basically a battle with others online in an arena... Yeah. Usually, the goal is to destroy something of the enemy's like a tower or base. That's a very basic description but, at its core, that's what a MOBA is.

    • riggysmalls

      Multiplayer Online Battle Arena: if you've played or seen League of Legends or DOTA then you already know what it is

      It is basically a game in which you play on one two teams and control one champion who starts at level 1. Each team has minions (NPCs) and champions (People) who try to push their way through the enemy defenses and destroy their base. As you kill minions and champions you gain levels (stat boosts and abilities) and you gain gold. Gold is spent on purchasing any number of items which make you stronger.

    • nonen

      Do you know what DotA is? League of Legends? Those are known as Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs).

    • Anbaraen

      A much better term that I'll always use to describe these games is LPG, standing for lane-pushing game; it has a few problems, but so does MOBA, and I think it describes the core of the game more accurately. In these games you and a team of others compete to try to destroy the opponents Base, using waves of allied AI units (creeps, minions) that spawn in one or more lanes.

  • RamazUltra

    I'm getting an iPad mini soon woo.

  • o0oJAKEo0o

    This game is absolutely incredible. That's all

  • curtneedsaride

    Is there any other "Area" to play in besides the green and purple one? That's all I've ever seen, and the thought of one type of area to play in has held me back from getting it. I just need atmospheric variety like lush greens, snowy parts, caves, etc. Atmosphere is huge for me.

  • videba

    And deserved

  • br4nd0n

    Just downloaded, never played any MOBA before. I played through the tutorials and I can already tell it's gonna be on my iPad for a looooong time.

  • http://www.fatesforever.com Jason Citron

    Hey Everyone - Jason here from Hammer & Chisel, the team behind Fates Forever. Just wanted to pop in and say thank you all for the incredible support and kindness! It's such an amazing experience to work on something for two years and receive this kind of positive feedback.

    Thank you for playing our game!

    • Ultima12

      Awesome job, Jason!! You and your team rock!!!

    • Stormourner

      you're soooo welcome, mr. citron ^^ I can't wait to play the new heroes

    • Tonk Montana

      Hi Jason, congrats on the well-deserved 5 star review. The game is beautiful, controls are well designed and it scratches every MOBA itch in a very pleasurable way. In short, I can't stop playing your game! Love it.

      My only moderate complaint is the drop-out rate (DC! of other players. A match is often 2v3 or even 1v3. This gets frustrating. Please institute a rating system and/or penalties to combat this.

      Also, it would be nice to be able to read the forum in-game while waiting in que.

      And thanks for the free champion, that was a nice surprise. 😉

      • http://www.fatesforever.com Jason Citron

        Hey Tonk - we are looking into solutions to the "afk" problem ranging from a penalty to something drastic like replacing players with bots. Something like bots has a lot of potential issues, so we're not going to rush into a solution.

        As for the forums, you can. If you close the app we will send you a push notification when a match is found!

        Thanks for playing... and you're welcome!

      • ptrostli

        You should fix the crashes first before applying that though, because it has happened to me to just stop bothering relaunching the app. :/

    • Jared

      Awesome job Hammer & Chisel. I have played many other MOBAs on iOS and on the computer. This is way better than others from iOS and as the development goes on I think this could surpass that of the computer. This is such a great game!

  • Ultima12

    Props go out to Hammer and Chisel. It's nice to see a studio make a full fledged game on iPad. I don't like that ios games are so often bite sized experiences. The iPad, especially, is much more capable than that. Fates Forever proves that. The game is amazing and I've put many hours into playing it already. Add to that the time I've spent watching it on Twitch and me and FF have spent a considerable amount of time together 🙂

  • idmonfish

    I was lucky enough to be introduced to League of Legends recently by a friend who works at Riot Games, but since almost all of my gaming happens on the Ipad while I enjoyed the game style I resigned myself not to playing MOBA's - then this came along - great game, very well designed, nice aesthetic.

  • Marvin

    One of the biggest advantages I've seen out of this game over any other on Ios. If you crash out of a game or someone is just a leaver the game, when the game is restarted it will load you back into the match you left. This works on two fronts.
    1) if you crash, you can finish the game you were in, the only penalty is lost time
    2) LEAVERS CANt LEAVE. Pretty simple to understand. Those that rage quit and go to join another game will be forced to finish what they started, preventing matches where it ends up 3v0 unless the people just refuse to play anymore

  • ChaosProdigy

    Due to my busy lifestyle my gaming has turned mostly to my iPhone so although i had followed this game on Touch Arcade since it was first announced i never downloaded it.

    This review and so far all 100% positive reviews + Devs chiming in here led me to go ahead and not only download the game but pay the $20 to support them. I love this type of passion from Devs and their players even if i don't stick with the game too long due to my busy life - perhaps they can add a "quick game" mode where games are 10 minutes or less at most. At end of 10 min points decide winner. I would rather not commit 20+ min to a game or if i do i want to know it will end in x minutes at the most!

  • Michael Graham Jr

    so called king of the north

  • Singhapura

    I hate MOBA's. Not because they are bad games but because they waste a lot of great graphics on repetitive and boring gameplay. I would love to see a top-down action RPG with Fates Forever quality graphics and hours of storyline.

    • Kancon1

      Some people like me love the competitive gameplay. Saying its repetitive is like calling a fighting game repetitive. Don't get me wrong, I love me some RPG, but some people have a competitive itch on them

  • Greg

    This game is fantastic! A perfectly implemented, not frustrating f2p model, that lets you enjoy the game without making any payments. All characters can be purchased via in-game currency that is earned by playing matches.

  • liteking

    It just crashes everytime on my iPad2. Couldn't finish the qualifying levels.

Fates Forever Reviewed by Carter Dotson on . Rating: 5