Death’s Door PC Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Action RPG
 
Rating: PG
 
Release Date: Available Now
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/5


 

Positives


- Charming characters
- Fantastic style and look
- Difficult, yet fair, combat

Negatives


- Some encounters and levels go on too long


Posted August 17, 2021 by

 
Full Article
 
 

I’m always on the look out for my next favourite Indie game. In a medium where sequels are a dime a dozen, new, inventive and interesting Indie games have quickly become my favourite segment of the gaming landscape. While they don’t always hit the mark, it’s just refreshing seeing new things tried, as opposed to repeating the same designs over and over again. The latest Indie darling to catch my attention was Death’s Door, with the style I saw in gameplay trailers immediately drawing me in. Now, after spending a good bit of time with the game, it’s clear that Death’s Door isn’t just a stylish game, but is simply a fantastic one.

Death’s Door has you take control of an unnamed crow who works as a seemingly-interdimensional reaper of souls. Your job is to beat the holy hell out of your assigned target, effectively murdering them and then taking their soul back to your weirdly accounting firm-like office for processing. The caveat of the job is that you age while you’re hunting for and collecting your assigned soul, so if anything goes wrong and the soul you’re collecting just happens to disappear, you’re stuck aging until you can find it again. Of course, that’s exactly what happens early in the game, triggering an adventure to collect three massive souls and gradually uncovering the mystery of how they were able to live and grow to such a size in the first place.

This is all told through a relatively slim lineup of characters via text conversations. There’s not a lot of pizazz to the presentation of the story, but the characters themselves carry those conversations. There’s the grave digger that simply wants to die and eagerly badgers you to try and kill him. There’s a cursed knight whose head was turned into a pot, who frequently offers a taste of tasty innards to you. There may not be many characters, but the ones that are there are interesting, quirky and carry the story well.

That same level of character filters into the world of Death’s Door as well. Especially in the crow filled home of the reapers. Here, the world is in something close to grayscale, with coloured lights standing out strikingly from the rest of the world. There’s a slow, gentle music that plays, giving the world a somewhat melancholy feel. I only wish this landscape was used a little more throughout the game. Other areas are less visually unique, but they all have their own styles and techniques that are clear to see. One of my favourite visual effects is the reflections on the shiny floor of the Witch’s mansion, which looks fantastic in motion. Couple the interesting art with detailed levels and beautifully clean aesthetics, and you have a game that looks absolutely fantastic.

In practice, Death’s Door feels like a somewhat easier isometric Dark Souls. You explore areas in a somewhat linear way, with plenty of hidden secrets to find; wipe out enemies, who repopulate when you leave and return to the area; unlock shortcuts to make progression backwards and forwards quicker, and take on bosses who are quick to wipe you out. Where the game differs from other Souls-likes is in its relative lack of penalty for dying, along with bosses and encounters that aren’t quite as harrowingly difficult as other similar games.

Where it’s strikingly similar, is in its combat and boss design. Much like other similar game, the combat in Death’s Door feels quite deliberate and solid. Attacks feel deliberate and knock smaller enemies back but over commit and you’ll get yourself walloped. Instead, pattern recognition is the name of the game. Every enemy has their own pattern of attacks that they follow, which you’ll quickly learn to identify. This is especially true in boss battles, where attacks land harder than ever. Quickly, I found myself learning patterns and quickly diving in at opportune moments and getting a few hits in, before withdrawing and biding my time for the next opening. It never felt overly difficult or unfair, leading to a relatively clear path through the game.

There are some moments where Death’s Door feels a little underwhelming, but they’re relatively few and far between. Some levels feel like they go on a little too long without a change in scenery, which can make exploration a little boring on occasion. Similarly, combat encounters often consist of multiple waves of enemies, and going from three wave encounter to three wave encounter can get a little tedious. Still, these are relatively minor gripes in a game that is otherwise fantastic.

Overall, Death’s Door is an utterly fantastic game, that will appeal to both lovers of exploration, combat and style. I was enamoured from beginning to end, with the game’s charming characters and fair, yet difficult, combat pulling me in. If you’re looking for a new action game, this is the one for you.

Death’s Door was reviewed on a Windows PC with a review copy provided by the publisher. It is also available on Xbox One. For more information, check the official website.


Andrew Cathie

 
Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.