Ever wanna kill somebody in a very… roundabout way? To come up with such a game, the guys at Next Studio must have at least given it a thought!
Death Coming is a semi-puzzle murder-fest where you control the poor bystander of an accident. Forced to come face to face with Death himself, you soon find out that he’s not such a bad guy! He offers your life back, but in return asks that you promise to serve him. What does serve mean, exactly? Basically, you accept to be killing random people! The game is currently in early access but already attracted plenty of attention worldwide
Cheating Death with Potted Plants!
From an isometric viewpoint, you observe the unsuspecting patrons below; waiting for the most opportune moment to strike. You don’t really control a character as much as you do the disembodied camera watching from above. Using only the left mouse button you can move, interact and investigate everything you need to; from the market in the middle of town to the hip dancers down the street.
The thing that makes this game so fun is that death doesn’t simply run down the street, scythe in hand, to take his victims… he’s too classy for that! Instead, you rely on an assortment of well arranged “traps” that you can use to disable whomever you need. Traps take all sorts of forms: from conveniently placed flower pots above well traveled sidewalks, to stoplights that just never seem to work when they should. Clicking on these traps will give you a brief description of what they do, as well as a highlighted shadow marking where they’ll land. Double clicking activates the contraption, which hopefully leads to yellow tape. Not all traps are immediately obvious, so keep an eye out!
If I were to have any real complaint about this game, it’d be that some of the descriptions are just too obscure, if explained at all! To complicate things, some the mechanisms behind certain traps aren’t exactly crystal clear. Numerous times, I wasn’t sure if a trap would fall on someone, explode, or something else; mainly because there wasn’t an indication of that. This wasn’t a usual occurrence, but it happened frequently enough to warrant a mention.
Murder Is Fun!
You know what else warrants a mention? How fun this game is! Most of the gameplay involves trying to work out the puzzle that is how to efficiently kill the various citizens and targets. In order to complete a level, you must hit a certain death quota. You can beat an act with a bronze medal – the lowest tier – or you can try your hand at silver and gold. I have yet to get a gold medal.
Each act also includes three optional targets that have some correlation to your character. This, in my opinion, is the best part of Death Coming. Spotting a target and figuring out what to do in order to kill them is at times so effective you feel like little detective; piecing together the pieces for the ultimate murder.
But who will stop all this death, you ask? Well, don’t think your deeds are going to go unpunished. Eventually the police get involved… and by police I mean angels. These little pricks fly around all over the place, increasing in number the more people you kill. If they notice you messing with something in their vision-cone, they’ll take a heart from you. Lose three of them and you’ll have to start the act from its beginning!
Discussing mechanics, weather also deserves some attention. This system makes an appearance a couple of acts into the story and adds a nice bit of variety and planning to the mix. Depending on the act you’re playing, a timer in the upper left corner will be counting down to the next weather change. Each event affects the way existing traps work, as well as adding new ones. For example: when snow falls sewer grates freeze shut, effectively disabling the trap. All of this adds a nice touch of planning, if not a wee bit of waiting.
Sound-wise the game has this wonderfully mundane collection of music tracks. While nothing impressive, the soundtrack just seems to scream “yea, you’re killing people! So what?” The game’s music does the job; in a good way!
Death Never Looked So Appealing…
Something I haven’t mentioned yet is how gosh-darn charming this game can be! The cutesy pixel aesthetics give the whole game this very lax vibe that really plays into how un-seriously this indie title takes itself. Lots of citizens have entertaining thought bubbles that pop up from time to time, giving you insight on their personal life. Little scenarios also fire off as you kill, indirectly changing the map in various ways.
Throughout your journey, you might seamlessly go from committing random murder to trying to help thieves make off with a prized jewel. The entire experience is all just so charming. I personally love when the game declares “the police are here!” with a backing choir singing “Hallelujah”.
Seriously… Play It!!!
Honestly, I didn’t expect so few problems with this game. Early access titles often result unplayable or even fail to boot at all. Nevertheless, several issues still managed to show themselves.
Angels, for example, can group up in such a way as to impede any sort of interaction. Sometimes, they’ll turn around and deprive you of a heart without any warning. There are also a number of noticeable grammar issues and spelling errors, as well as a speech bubble that some unfortunate camera work makes illegible. Other than that though, I couldn’t really find anything major to report.
All in all, this game is good fun. It is cheap, it is short but worth the price, and it ain’t even finished yet! If you want some good-ol’ pixely murder in your life, you should definitely give it a chance to impress you. Death Coming is to die for and I couldn’t but wholeheartedly recommend that you play it!