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Fool!

by Ben Rovik

Fantasy
2019

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Number of Reviews: 1
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A masterfully written Shakespearen-style game with fiddly stats, September 29, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
I'm actually very torn on this review. I think I'm going to end up recommending this on Steam but not giving it 5 stars here, because the two sets of reviews serve different purposes.

Fool! has brilliant writing. I've read all of Shakespeare's plays multiple times (I got on a real kick in college where I'd read one of his plays after every other book I read), and there are some parts of this game I'd easily believe came from one of his books. It has a lot of poetry and jokes.

The overall backstory seems to be based on Henry IV parts 1 and 2 but in a different setting. There are battles between England and France, a somewhat rebellious Prinxe Hail and a rebellious northerner nicknamed Hotfoot.

In the midst of this, you are an aspiring fool who starts out with an audience of three wide-eyed kids and a stage marked by horse manure and drunks' vomit. Throughout the game, you build up your reputation and make friends (and enemies) along the way until you can end up as high as the King's Court or being one of the most famous players in the land.

It's a large game, maybe 4-6 hours long if playing intently.

With all these good things going forward it, it's hard not to recommend it. But I had to battle quite a bit with the stats. I frequently could not for the life of me guess when a choice was sanguine, bilious, phlegmatic or melancholic.

"Let's see," I'd think to myself. "This option is about cheering up my friends. That's sanguine, right?" Nope. It's phlegmatic, because you're trying to balance your various responsibilites.

Okay, trying to be famous is usually bilious right? No, this time trying to be famous is melancholic, because you're being cynical or cautious about it.

I was trying to roleplay as a confident and brilliant braggart (high blood/bile), and made it to act 3 with almost maxed-out sanguine (after restarting, something I almost never do, and battling back and forth for a while with the stats), and then a series of encounters somehow flipped it so I had extremely low blood and bile. I literally pounded my fist and shouted 'no!' in frustration a couple of times.

My reaction to the stats seems isolated. Fool! is fairly high on the bestseller list on the Choice of Games omnibus app and has very positive reviews on Steam and on the Choice of Games forum. The funny writing, the excellent quality of humor and even silly stuff like the ape companion make me feel confident that I can recommend this game to others and they'll feel like they got their money's worth, and I intend to do so on steam. If you're into Shakesperean comedy or want to max your Bawdiness or Wit then this game is absolutely for you. I don't regret playing it, and intend to return to it in the future.

I received a review copy of this game.