Death’s Door: A Thought-Provoking Experience – PC Review
Death is not an easy business for a harbinger of souls. As reapers, crows slave away collecting souls needed to power magical doors. When a door opens, a reaper must acquire the assigned soul to close that door. One look at the office and it is easy to see the monotony of the job has paid its toll for quite some time. However, if you choose to peak behind a few doors, you will find much is amiss within the workplace. Death’s Door is a game about how death, especially the fear of death, is something we all have to face. Fortunately, there is plenty of laughs to be had along the way.
After you clock into work, only to have a hard-earned soul pilfered, you are tasked with acquiring three special souls. These three individuals have long since passed their expiration date and it is up to you to correct their immortality. This, of course, won’t be easy, so you’ll have to get to work collecting souls to increase your abilities.
“Combat can be challenging at times but always for the right reasons.”
The simplest way to gather souls is to reap them, so get ready to slay your way from door to door. Combat can be challenging at times but always for the right reasons. You start with a sword, and an arrow spell that you regain charges for landing melee attacks. For defence, you are equipped with a simple dodge. Your dodge can be paired with your heavy attack for extra reach and damage. Basic enemies only take a few hits to defeat but are kept interesting by their variety and various attack options. Luckily, mini-bosses ramp up the difficulty as they are slowly introduced, which makes the pacing feel great.
Fortunately, you are not limited to just fighting while on your adventure. Death’s Door is packed to the brim with opportunities to explore. The puzzles are simple enough to understand and felt right at home, with many doing a phenomenal job of foreshadowing the spells your crow will need to acquire later on. Many of these are optional, rewarding you with new weapons, upgrades to your magic, or extra souls.
“Aside from the characters, the audio in Death’s Door takes the spotlight.”
Along the way, you will meet several creatures harbouring an interesting relationship with the hereafter. Death’s Door is at its best while you are communing with its NPCs. There is a lot of thought put into humanising the bosses and their actions. These stories even help to explain the state of the different levels and how they came to be as such. The art style plays to these strengths, managing to be dark, whimsical, and gorgeous.
Aside from the characters, the audio in Death’s Door takes the spotlight. From calming and serene, to thrilling and anxiety-inducing, the music set the mood perfectly. Even the small touches like how doors squeak with the main protagonist and make the game feel all the more vibrant.
“While Death’s Door is not revolutionary in its combat, it does a fantastic job of creating scenarios that challenge you to master it.”
Death’s Door does have some disappointments. Initially, the weapons you pick up throughout the game are fun to use. However, I found myself constantly returning to the starting sword to get through most of the boss fights. There is a system that takes speed, chain attacks, and reach into account but this adds little to the experience. While exploration is a big part of the game, I found it quite easy to get lost at a few points. A tad bit more direction would be welcome, though this hardly plagues the game.
Playing with a controller requires you to hold a trigger button to ready your selected spell, drastically changing my playstyle from the instant fire when using a mouse and keyboard. While I did not mind this, I think it is worth mentioning. Death’s Door is available now on Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One, and PC via Steam.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC, code was provided by the publisher.
While Death's Door is not revolutionary in its combat, it does a fantastic job of creating scenarios that challenge you to master it. The puzzles are fun and mesh well with your skills, while the world keeps on pulling you into its wondrous mysteries. Each boss fight is unique and brings something new to the experience, which is something I greatly enjoyed. Along with the music and SFX, the story and characters are charming and ask you to think about what death means for us all.