The objective at the heart of nearly every game is conquest. Defeat the enemy, escape captivity, save the princess, find the cake. What if you’re not running for glory, though? What if, instead of monsters or aliens or Nazis, you’re fighting to fix things for the entire world. What if you have to save billions of people who, the minute things aren’t going their way, will blame you for every disaster under the sun? It’s a tough, often thankless task, but Fate of the World: Tipping Point hopes to prove you’re up to the challenge.
Placing you in charge of the GEO, a global organisation dedicated to setting all of the globe’s major issues (including rising sea levels, disease, famine, pollution and crashing economies) right, Fate of the World: Tipping Point presents a heft task for even the most ambitious strategy fan. Bringing together the tricky but woefully short Fate of the World and all of its subsequent expansions, Tipping Point places you in a variety of desperate situations and tests your management skills on a massive scale.
A turn-based strategy game (with each turn lasting 5 years and allowing around 200 years to set things straight), Tipping Point hands over control of the world’s economic, environmental and political policies, spread across eleven real life regions. Given their incredibly varied geo- and socio-political landscapes, one size most definitely does not fit all and, as with many titles of similar ilk, pleasing everyone requires nerves of steel and the patience of a saint. You can opt for a more totalitarian form of governance but you’re likely to get turfed out by a nation who’ll then let their country boil over, both figuratively and literally. Depending on the number of ambassador agents posted in each region, you can make a set number of policy decisions that will have wide-ranging impacts. All of this costs money as well and you need to be careful not to bankrupt the people you’re trying to help.
While the premise is relatively straightforward, its execution is something of a mess. An expert in global politics and policy would likely find themselves right at home but, for the average gamer, the content is a little dry, even if it is highly relevant and does a good job of painting a realistic picture of what could happen following every decision. This isn’t helped by the game’s simple but clunky interface that makes it difficult to gauge the impact of your actions. There is a huge amount of information available but it all needs to be taken into account and, with pages of text, endless menus and little to break up the reading, it can start to feel a little bit like Congress’ homework. The music doesn’t help matters either – I definitely recommend your own tunes when playing.
For all of its foibles, Fate of the World: Tipping Point is still an incredibly satisfying experience when mastered. Few games come close to replicating the sense of power and accomplishment from successfully managing the entire planet and there are some welcome side missions, including one particularly satisfying campaign dedicated to messing up as much as possible, leaving a burnt out husk for some other poor sap to clean up. The game’s educational merit can’t be overlooked either. At its heart, Tipping Point presents a stark mirror to hold up to the world we live in today. Sure, it may benefit from a little background reading and awareness of global issues but when was that ever a bad thing?
It may not be as flashy as some AAA titles, but there’s little more rewarding than knowing you’ve done a good job. Fate of the World: Tipping Point may not be the ideal experience for anyone looking to switch off and blast through a fun ride for a few hours but, for those seeking a challenge with some intellectual punch, it’s worth a look.
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