Well, this afternoon I got an email from a friend of mine asking if I’d played a game called Fate. Hadn’t even heard of it. But getting a note from her like that was so unusual, I just had to call and find out.

She went on about the game, this, that, and the other, but the important point was that she was having fun. So much fun, she was playing every chance she got.

So I poked around online and found that Best Buy had it in stock. Being desperate for a game that was fun, of course I bought it.

So what’s Fate? You could call it Diablo Light, brought to us by indie developer Wild Tangent, through publisher Encore. Amazing in itself, as you don’t find too many indie products on the shelves.

The graphics are on the cute side, but well-done for all that. The view is similar to Diablo, although you can pull the camera back and get a more top-down view. Now, all I have to do is restrain myself from trying to swing the mouse as in Neverwinter Nights.

You have a choice of male or female cookie-cutter character. However, there are no classes of any kind, so no restrictions on how you want to develop your alter ego.

For all that, the choices are basically fighter, fighter/mage, or mage. We have the familiar four attributes: strength, dexterity, vitality, and magic. Five points are awarded at level up to be distributed among those as you see fit.

You also receive two skill points. These can be put into various weapon or magic skills. However, there is a wrinkle here: you also have a fame rating. As that levels up (by dungeoneering and doing quests), you get extra skill points.

And there’s your pet, either a cat or dog. They’re exactly the same; which you take depends on whether you prefer “meow” or “woof”. Your pet has an inventory, and can carry as much as you can stuff into it.

Further, you can send your pet alone back to town to sell all that stuff. I’m not kidding! It’s even smart enough to get healed if injured. It never dies, either. If hitpoints are brought down to zero, it runs away from combat.

Fish. You can go fishing (have to buy the pole, which isn’t cheap), and come up with all kinds of fish (and sometimes items). Then you can feed them to your pet, and change it into something more potent for a short period of time. I understand there are special fish that can make the change permanent. I suspect it will be awhile before I find any of those.

Of course, we also have the usual miserly start: a few healing potions, one scroll each of Identify and Town Portal, an axe and 250 gold. Naturally, almost everything for sale is waaay too expensive.

So it’s just as well you have a little helper. I hate going into dungeons with no armor. But I was lucky enough to find a buckler for sale (a bargain – ha!- at 170 gold).

Also, I wanted to use a bow (I’ve been stuck on archery since the first Diablo). Killing from a distance is a good thing. That took awhile, but I did find a shortbow in the dungeon.

I’ve also got a few jobs in my book of things to do. One was give to me by (ahem) a skeleton in town (the town of Grove, by the way). He wanted some fancy bow retrieved.

Well I found it. VERY nice bow. Mr. Bones will get it back – as soon as I’ve found something better. Much too good to just hand over at this early stage of the game.

Right now, I’m only level 3 (so is my kitty), and about to head down to the third level of the dungeon. I’ve managed to get up over a thousand gold, but a book of Town Portal costs 500 (ouch), as does a book of ID (I found one, but there aren’t many scrolls left in it).

Oh, you’re wondering about that “Fate” business? Well, the game is heavily randomized, and each new game, you have a different “main quest”, or Foozle to kill. Mine is waiting for me on level 48 of the dungeon. He’ll be waiting awhile ;)

And now, I must be off. Critters to kill, treasures to grab….