Developer: Acid Nerve
Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X (Reviewed) and Series S
Gene(s): Action, Adventure, RPG
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Death’s Door follows the trial and tribulations of a soul reaper, crow, as you progress through a series of puzzle-filled and action-packed levels. You play as a crow who has a job to get souls from creatures you encounter. Your job soon becomes a massive adventure.
As the crow reaper, you have assigned missions where you must collect the souls. The game starts in a sombre mood in a world lacking colour apart from the bright red sword you carry. However, before you know it the levels are filled with colours and you roam a plush world. The game does a fantastic job to tread between sombreness and being upbeat too.
The game starts with minimal instructions. I enjoyed this as it allows the player to explore and get used to the game. However, before you can do that, you have your first boss battle which turns into a hack and slash. You use the trusty bright red sword to kill the swathes of enemies that you encounter. The game shifts from dungeons that are a mix of hack and slash to dungeons full of puzzles. The game manages to make both gameplay elements enjoyable and challenging. Each level, puzzle and enemy get progressively more difficult, the instructions and assistance are kept to a minimum so it’s up to the player to figure out the nuances of the game. While this seems subtle, it makes the game much richer, and the gameplay experience is gripping. I found it difficult to stop playing the game once I started.
The bosses are amazing; there is a real sense of accomplishment when you beat them. The bosses are a strange combination of weird, funny, and just plain odd. They are wonderfully rendered and full of detail.
I have to say I love the interconnected nature of each level. This gives a real feel that you are in a singular world and this helps to tie story elements too. Puzzles and unreachable sections become open as you progress through the game. The game does challenge the player to figure out what is available to do throughout the game.
The story is left purposely vague, and you will gather small morsels of information as you progress through levels and bosses. This helps to build up suspense, intrigue and tension. Each level helps to uncover more detail and builds the story into something of interest. The story has a mix of twists and turns with a beautiful soundtrack that helps to hammer the underlying theme.
The NPCs and your interactions act as the humour in the game and provide light-heartedness to the sombreness in the game, they also help drive the narration of the game too.
As this game is an indie game, there aren’t any voice-overs. This is the only thing I think is missing for me, but the gameplay and story make up for it.
Death’s Door combines a wonderful action-based game with a whole host of puzzles to solve. It has a brilliant mix of hack and slash, a beautifully crafted world that is intriguing and a joy to explore. Every aspect of the game has been designed impeccably, every small element including level design should be applauded. It’s a wonderful game that excels in all elements: gameplay, story, music score and fun. I thoroughly enjoyed the game from start to end, I just found the game design and gameplay refreshing and such a joy.