Fatum Betula Review
This review after the Introduction section will have spoilers, but I will try not to spoil the ending of the game. I recommend playing this game and experiencing everything this game has to offer on your own before or instead of reading this review.
Fatum Betula is a game created by Bryce Bucher and ported to the Nintendo Switch by Baltoro Games. I picked this game up on the Switch eShop because it was on sale for only $1.99 USD and had an interesting game icon. When I bought it, I had no idea what to expect... but oh boy was I in for an atmospheric treat!
This game is a low poly horror-esque game that feels like something from the PlayStation 1 era (but with better controls).
You start the game in a narrow room with a set of stairs with absolutely no indication of what to do. You can walk up the stairs to see a tree of some sort and a long hallway with water on the floor. If you turn around and go down the stairs, you can see a door that cannot be opened. Upon going to the inventory menu by pressing start (+ on the switch controller), you will find letter that tells of a child who traveled to the end of a narrow stone path and waited until she saw a horrible row of teeth.
Following the story of the letter, if you go to the end of the path at the top of the stairs and wait, a monster will appear. The monster will tell you about how the world is tied to the tree and and the water can alter the tree, then it'll give you 3 vials. When you get the vials, the door at the beginning of the room can now be opened and you can begin your journey. Your goal in this game is simple... fill a vial with something and put it into the water to alter the tree.
Throughout the game, you will come across NPCs who may need something. You will also find some items that can be used to interact with NPCs or the environment. For instance, there is a racoon that looks like a black cat that complains about a constant pain in their stomach, so maybe you can find it some food?
Playing through with certain interactions will reward you with different substances to place in your vials, which can be used to get different endings. There are a total of 10 endings, 9 of which are "normal" endings and 1 that is a "bonus" ending.
This game oozes with atmosphere. The visuals and music fill me with a sort of meloncholy (but in a good way?) that I was not expecting to feel when I bought this game.
The PlayStation 1 era graphics might not be nostalgic to every player, but it definitely adds to the eerie atmosphere of the game to me in a similar way to how Silent Hill and Nightmare Creatures gives me an uneasy feeling.
The writing is a bit minimal, but the writing that's there tends to be whitty, funny, and even thought provoking in a subtle way. All of the writing also serves a purpose to let the player know what they may need to progress through the game. Something about being so minimal on written details reminds me of some early point and click titles like Myst.
There is something refreshing as well about being thrown into a game without any handholding or tutorial sections. There's just a letter you can read if you want with a hint on how to progress in order to get out of the first room, but after that, you're on your own.
Overall, it took me about 5 hours to get all of the endings in this game, although I used a guide to figure out how to get the bonus ending.
I have bugged so many people to get this game so far, especially because it tends to be on sale on the Nintendo Switch eShop very often. Whether the game is on sale on its own or as a bundle pack, I will frequently see it available for $1.99 USD.
This is the first game by Bryce Bucher that I have played. The quality of this game made me excited for other projects from Bryce, no matter what genre Bryce chooses to experiment with.
If you like slow and/or atmospheric games that are low pressure, I absolutely recommend giving this game a try.