Runaway: A Twist of Fate Review 2023

In 2010, Conrad previewed Runaway: A Twist of Fate, the third installment of Pendulo Studios’ Runaway series. For those unfamiliar, it’s an adventure game trilogy featuring Brian Bosco, a nerdy physicist who accidentally rescues a gorgeous woman from menacing mobsters, leading to a cascade of ensuing adventures.

While it would have been ideal to follow up that preview with a timely review, the months and years somehow slipped away from us. But now, thanks to the kind folks at Pendulo and, who provided us with a review copy, we can finally close the circle.

A quick confession before we dive in: I enjoyed the first game in the series, A Road Adventure, which was released about six years ago, but I never got around to playing the second game, The Dream of the Turtle, which transports Brian Bosco and his girlfriend Gina to Hawaii but Runaway: A Twist of Fate is even crazier.

Fortunately, prior knowledge of the first two games isn’t necessary to appreciate the third; there’s just enough backstory to maintain continuity, but not so much that players are overwhelmed with references.

Players of The Dream of the Turtle might be taken aback. After the abrupt “to be continued” ending of the second game, they find themselves in a brand new scenario in Runaway: A Twist of Fate. Brian Bosco stands trial for murder, is convicted, and sent to a mental asylum, where he supposedly commits suicide. Gina attends his funeral, only to receive a phone call from Brian, who faked his death to escape from the asylum but now finds himself in a dire predicament.

Runaway: A Twist of Fate

The game begins with Gina dashing around a cemetery, attempting to rescue Brian without alerting the hitmen lurking outside the cemetery gates.

Although it sounds like a massive spoiler, it’s merely the setup for the rest of the game, which chronicles past events leading to Brian’s predicament and his daring escape from the asylum. Meanwhile, Gina, in alternating chapters, strives to uncover the real murderer and clear Brian’s name. The story, from the outset, is compelling and a tad darker (and less “zany”) than its predecessors.

Runaway 3: A Twist of Fate Characters

Aesthetically, A Twist of Fate maintains the style of the previous titles, featuring 2.5D characters against a cartoon backdrop filled with interactive ‘hotspots’. It’s a welcome consistency; like the first two games, AToF boasts vibrant visuals with plenty to explore and interact with, and the graphics don’t feel outdated.

Runaway 3: A Twist of Fate Mechanics

The game mechanics are straightforward: click-to-move navigation and a cursor that changes when you hover over a hotspot. By default, clicking on a hotspot prompts Brian or Gina to examine the object or location closer.

A simple right-click changes the cursor, allowing interaction. If an object can be picked up, the character will do so, albeit sometimes with a grumble about the action’s purpose.

One minor gripe I have pertains to the game’s navigation. Occasionally, you might find yourself stuck in a room, seemingly unable to progress, only to discover after trial and error that another ‘room’ exists off the current one with no visual indication. While adventure gamers might tolerate some level of frustration, it typically stems from puzzle-solving rather than misleading game design.

As with its predecessors, A Twist of Fate is primarily about solving puzzles and gathering clues. Although it doesn’t exactly qualify as ‘pixel hunting’, there’s plenty of scenery to scrutinize and loose connections to make. The puzzles in A Twist of Fate are generally manageable, requiring only a bit of random object combination to advance.

If you do get stuck, a clever hint system is available, in line with the game’s many meta-references. I won’t divulge more, but I highly recommend checking out the hint menu at least once.

Additionally, there’s an option to display all hot spots in a given location, which effectively puts an end to the tedious task of scanning every inch of the scenery.

Beyond the storyline, the game boasts a cast of likable main and supporting characters, all of whom are brought to life with great dialogue and voice acting. From Brian and Gina’s self-aware comments on interactive objects, to an Elvis-obsessed orderly and his cemetery-working girlfriend, to a waiter imitating Groucho Marx, A Twist of Fate is packed with personality.

The story unfolds over six different chapters and can be completed in roughly ten hours. While that might seem a bit brief, my time with Runaway: A Twist of Fate was thoroughly enjoyable. It offers a compelling story (which has been excellently localized from its original Spanish), colorful characters, and an engaging soundtrack.


In conclusion, Runaway: A Twist of Fate is a commendable addition to the adventure game genre. It maintains the charming style of its predecessors while introducing a darker and more serious storyline. Despite some minor navigational issues, the game provides a satisfying experience for both veterans of the series and newcomers alike.

If you’re a fan of the genre, don’t let this game run away from you.

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