DEATH'S DOOR: A Delightful Trip to the Afterlife: Review

People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But some times, something so bad happens that the crow must use the soul to right the wrongs done by those before it and set things right in the afterlife.

Welcome to Death’s Door, developed by Acid Nerve and published by Devolver Digital. Death’s Door on its surface is a light hearted parody of games like Dark Souls but underneath is a fun and engaging dungeon crawling experience likened too Zelda games of old.

Death’s Door sees you take control of a crow working as a reaper collecting souls of the dead as it’s 9-5. The afterlife has been re-imagined as a pencil pushing bureaucracy filled with professional reapers drudging about their day to day much like the rest of us. Reaping souls could get a little monotonous but quickly livens up when your first major assignment soul is stolen. Your job is now to track down the thief through a realm that is controlled by fantastic characters and untouched by death…

Death’s Door is a beautifully bleak world. Colour is all still there but the vibrancy has been turned down somewhat to give you the sense of a world that is essentially in limbo. Character models are beyond memorable and varied. The game is built like an old Zelda game or dungeon crawler. The map has various levels that you need traverse with plenty of secrets hidden throughout. While the game can be a little predictable at times there is enough variety and charm to simply not care. The characters are their own element in Death’s Door each having their own quirks and memorable abnormalities. Steadhome the Gravekeeper is one you meet early on but their want for you to reap them and end their existence, only for you to be unable too much to their disappointment had me chuckling.

Death’s Door is shown as a top-down crawler slightly isometric and for someone not overly familiar with the dungeon level designs of other titles it felt really intuitive and simple to follow. There is no map to speak of, check points are sparse but close enough together to not be a grind and trekking your way through corridors looking for that extra secret or finding the next key was never a chore.

Death’s Door can be a difficult game but that can be largely down to my own abilities. I don’t play a lot of these types so I died a lot, like a whole lot, and I have yet to get frustrated as they were always my own fault. Controls are tight and encounters feel well balanced. Weapons are both tangible and magical and double as part weapon and part puzzle solving tool. Several areas challenged me to chain these abilities together switching effortlessly from tool to weapon and back again. Magic uses has a limit but is simply restored by giving something a wack.

There are only a handful of weapons to collect throughout your playthrough and early on you start to realise what they are going to be by areas you need to get to within the map. The lack of weapons is actually a blessing as they easily map to the D pad on controller and leaves switching between them during battles an ease. Boss fights mix cartoonish evil charm with some impressively potent attacks each requiring to remember some of the mechanics from its dungeon to be able to get through. There is a small RPG element to help you on your reaping journey. Turning in your claimed souls for upgrades to your weapons and abilities ultimately helping out in the later enemies.

Death’s Door has been an absolute pleasure to play and showcases the ability of the small team of two over at Acid Nerve. Captivating visuals and tight, dynamic gameplay had me always happy to boot it up. Its tongue in cheek humour was refreshing in all its macabre glory.

With all that is going on in the world especially here in my backyard at the moment Death’s Door has been a well-received distraction and one I suggest you seriously have a look at. 

Reviewed: Patrick Clifford (Snoogs)

Reviewed on: PC / Steam

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