Developer: Magic Design Studios
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), Switch
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
Have a Nice Death is a 2D side-scrolling roguelike game. The game is based around you playing as Death, who is exhausted by overworking himself and whose employees are no longer cooperative. With everything out of control in terms of the balance of the souls, Death’s vacation time seems no longer promising. A game similar to Have a Nice Death would be Moonlighter or Skul: The Hero Slayer. Have a Nice Death is developed by Magic Design Studios and published by Gearbox Publishing. This review is for the PC, but the game is available for the Switch, also.
The controls for Have a Nice Death are very simple. With playing it on the keyboard and mouse, it’s very accessible and easy to get a hang of the mapped controls. At the beginning of the game, you are given a tutorial which gets you into the basis of the game. Though what’s nice is that there is a mouse control pad at the top left corner of the game, which indicates; the controls for designated actions. Throughout the game, controls are highlighted as well when needed to interact with anything. Overall the controls are very easy to follow.
The art style for Have a Nice Death is; so pleasing to look at and pairs so well with the theme of the game. It’s a dull yet bright game that has a cartoonish look. The main character of the game reminds me of a baby version of the Grim Reaper from The Adventures of Billy and Mandy. The game has a dark, grim vibe yet also has a whimsical touch to it. Each character; that you encounter has its own unique story as well as brings its own personality to the game. What I love about; the art style of this game is that there are 3D and 2D aspects incorporated. For example, each level/area of the game has a solid background in the back with many 3D components, like the ghouls, floating books, and characters you meet, adding a more vibrant gloomy look. I also love the attention to detail given to the design of the foreground. As you scroll side to side, you can pan into cobwebs that appear outside of the background and still ground which is an attention to detail; that I admire. Even the title screen of this game is so compelling and pleasing. Even though most of the elements are subtle, little motions and lighting create an amazing; atmosphere for this game. I find myself very indulged, in the little effects, even from the purple streak of Death’s scythe; adding colour to the atmosphere is such a lovely touch.
In addition to the art style of this game, the soundtrack is extremely atmospheric. The piano-led music with slight synth and high notes creates a moody atmosphere that compliments this haunting, gloomy atmosphere. There also is this broken-down jack in the box; that plays at instances which is probably my favourite sound of this entire game. It invites you into the environment Death works in but; also keeps you distracted from anything else and put into the game itself. Most of the music reminds me of Addams Family and Haunted Mansion, which fit well with the theme of this game. What I love about this game that is a small detail but goes such a long way is the little jingle played every time you continue your game which goes like, “Welcome to the afterlife”. Besides the music, the sound effects of objects, powers, and interactions play well together. I also enjoy the little gibberish noises that come from when interacting with other characters in the game. Everything about this game is unique, and nothing crosses over, which is; something very different about this game.
As it is a rougelike action game, it plays like any other. You begin in an area and go through many randomly generated floors to make your way to the boss. Each boss differs from department to department, which adds a lot of variety and character. The different departments have specified settings, like food area pollution, to industrial pollution, and all the mobs you encounter are specific to those locations. Killing one boss leads you to the next area and so forth. For this game, after you finish a level, you are presented with an elevator at the end; to choose between different level options. I love the balance that is given to the story of this game as well. The interactions and dialogues you have with the characters are; not useless but rather helpful. What I like about this game is that there are multiple things that you can do in terms of buying upgrades, completing quests, and unlocking collectables which make the player want to delve deeper into the true completion of this game.
My opinion of this game is extremely positive. I found this game to be so investing and also; challenging, which is something you want from a really good roguelike game. I love horror; the underworld theme and the visuals are so cute and charming, which brings everything together. The game is a great adventure, and it just gets harder and harder, but in a fun way. What I love about this game is that everything matches this workplace environment. When using the elevator, you have to sign an agreement, and these details make it so exciting for the player to continue to play. Also, text interactions change from time to time and; you can have text speech bubbles to a full-text box at the bottom of this screen. What I truly, enjoy about this game is having the ability to try out different abilities and weapons to improve Death’s capability to own their place. There’s so much to this game that can make each run different; from one another. Take Mr O’Shah’s bonuses that can help you gain certain boosts. Most enemies at certain levels are not too difficult, but over time the difficulty does get harder; what is nice is that you can change difficulty if need be and run levels on those difficulties. I would say some abilities aren’t helpful, and one of the main issues of this game would be healing. Healing in this game is a bit difficult. It seems; that there are three specific health slots, but for some reason, at times, not all of them fill up. The work environment created with the theme of this game and how it plays fits all so well and is really fun to play. I found myself playing this game continuously for hours to make sure; I completed level after level.
If you want to play a game where you get to show all your useless employees, minions who truly are the Boss, embark on this rougelike action journey as Death themself. The game has charming visuals with an atmospheric soundtrack that creates a moody, haunting environment for the players to; get delved into. This game captures the true essence of a roguelike action game but adds so much more with its unique style and can; also be challenging. So, if you want to indulge in this hell-bent adventure, then; go check out Have a Nice Death!