Death’s Door Review
Death’s Door is a new action RPG from developer Acid Nerve and publisher Devolver Digital. The game is oozing with style straight from the get-go, and the many vibrant characters are sure to quickly have diehard fans all over the internet. The story of Death’s Door is unique yet not overly complicated and intertwines excellently with gameplay. Combat feels smooth and responsive while being easy to learn yet hard to master. That being said, some moments felt a bit long-winded, and some encounters felt unnecessary.
In Death’s Door, players will take the place of a crow working as a reaper collecting souls of the recently deceased. What is usually a regular workday takes a wild turn when a soul is stolen and needs to be tracked down across worlds long untouched by death. Using doors, Monster’s Inc-style, players will travel to these different worlds and hunt down massive, powerful creatures that have avoided death for centuries. Each zone is completely different from the last and filled to the brim with enemies and quirky characters.
My favourite thing about the story was how it drives gameplay; even in death, there is no game over screen. Instead, crows who die in battle resurrect back at the head office and must set out to reclaim their assigned souls again. Small touches like this make the game feel incredibly immersive and lead to longer than expected play sessions. Beyond the main story, there is also a surprising amount of side content and collectibles spread out throughout the game world. While not necessary to progress, extra content helps to incentivize exploration and flesh out the many diverse environments.
Death’s Door plays like a somewhat top-down action RPG, with dungeon crawling elements and intricate boss encounters. To elaborate past buzz words, the combat in the game is in real-time and revolves around using melee (sword) and ranged (bow) attacks while carefully dodging enemies. The game supports a controller or mouse and keyboard, and both feel responsive and tight to control.
To progress the story, players will have to move through worlds solving mild mechanic-based puzzles and battle enemies to unlock subsequent levels that expand on previous challenges. The drawback to this design style is that when combined with the game’s checkpoint system, it can create tediously repetitive moments that made me step away from playing on more than one occasion.
The speedy reaction-based combat is enticing and fun to start but quickly becomes challenging and brutally punishing, especially when combined with the many items and mechanics later in the game. I enjoyed learning the many nuances of battle, and each new ability has multiple applications, which creates numerous viable playstyles. Sometimes difficulty spikes felt forced, or encounters were too long-winded. Although, I will fully admit that may also just be me being bad at video games. I could easily see other gamers enjoying the challenge of widely spaced-out checkpoints and more prolonged battles.
This game is absolutely gorgeous. There really is not a better way to put it. The inviting art style is uniform throughout and, when combined with the tremendous characters, creates a living game world that raises the bar for similar titles in the future. The game uses colour as well as any, and the stark contrast of black and white sections against colourful near Pixar-like worlds makes every aspect of the game pop. Every single world and enemy feels entirely unique yet a part of the same whole. I could easily see merch and fan art for this game taking over the internet in the coming weeks.
Much like the art in the game, the audio varies wildly between environments and enemy encounters. The dreadful tones of the head office specifically stood out to me and set the tone for the rest of the game and its relatively dark sense of humour. Numerous small audio cues indicate enemy attacks or events in battle and help to make combat feel more immersive. While I may not be bumping the soundtrack the next time I get the aux cord, I did thoroughly enjoy the game’s music and appreciated everything it added to my experience.
Death's Door Review
- GAMEPLAY - 90%90%
- GRAPHICS - 100%100%
- AUDIO - 90%90%
Death’s Door is dripping with style and instantly steals the player’s attention with loveable characters and easy-to-learn combat. The story is a highlight of the game yet works brilliantly to combine with all other aspects of Death’s Door to create a living world not often found in similar titles. Challenging sections and infrequent checkpoints can at times make the game frustrating. Still, some players may enjoy the extra level of difficulty because it does add to the required playtime. Overall the game was a blast to play, and I’m seriously contemplating getting a tattoo of that crow; the dude is cool as hell. For the price, it would be a crime to skip this game. Playing any amount of Death’s Door will be rewarding and most likely lead to longer than expected gaming sessions.
For more on Death’s Door, check out our previous coverage.