Deaths Door – First impressions (PC)

So, this game caught by eye during the Devolver Digital E3 conference (the best E3 conferences by the way), as soon as I heard it was not a roguelike I was in. The Art looked amazing, you play as a crow (birds for the win) and it looked like a solid inspired by the old LOZ game. I am happy report that the game does indeed live up to the fantastic trailers.

Story

So, I do not want to spoil anything here, but the basic premise is you are a grim reaper (yes crows are grim reapers), you get assigned to take down a fairly large soul. Once you take down the first boss the soul you are about to reap gets stolen and then your journey starts from there. There is more story than I expected, there are strange things going on with the reaper organisation and the stories in the world are great and fit the game perfectly. In fact, characters and character designs are one of the games strong points.

Visuals

One thing that stuck out in the trailers was the art direction, and it does shine here. The enemy designs, environmental art, character designs, everything is superb. The graphics are basic but stylised and highly effective. Every area is distinct and different, they all have their own identity, and the layout of each area is well thought out and designed. This is an Indy game that actually tries to be something rather than just copy almost every other indy and it succeeds.

Sound

I can not praise the games soundtrack enough, each overworld theme is perfect and matches the area. The sound effects are solid, and there is something about the soundtrack that is just consuming. I am guilty these days of having other music on or media when playing games as most soundtracks are just dire to me. Death door’s however is something special. The boss fight themes are also brilliant. I love the use of Guitar within the boss themes as the track progresses, it feels epic, and I cannot recommend the soundtrack enough. Oh and if you buy the deluxe edition the OST comes in FLAC and MP3, HAIL FLAC.

Gameplay

The game is quite basic, but due to the nature of enemy encounters, it is far from boring, the weight on the character and overall movement feels spot on too, which is key and where many other indy titles fail. You have a dodge that has a cooldown, you have a basic and strong attack, ranged attacks of which you unlock more, and you can dash into a stronger attack.

There are different weapons and ranged attacks to equip throughout the game.  Enemy variety is very high, and the encounters become quite hectic, a lot of enemies are thrown at you at the same time. In fact, I would liken the encounters to Ratchet & Clank, you must really think on your feet, you only have 4 health bars for quite a while, which means 4 hits and your out. The healing system is interesting, you collect seeds, and you will come across plant pots in each overworld you can use a seed which you find littered throughout the areas and plant it there, you can then use it to heal. It only has one use, but when you die and respawn the plant respawns and can be used again.  

My only main concern is there only seems to be 3 main bosses, although there are other bosses. However, the first main boss was disappointing, their attacks, design and so on were truly memorable and great, unfortunately they had a very limited move set and just repeated predictable patterns and in the same order. Very Nintendo like and uninspiring mechanically. Their backstory was actually very interesting though, so overall the bosses seem genuinely great in every way bar attack patterns. Hopefully, this improves.  Every enemy you kill gives you a soul and they can be used to upgrade your damage, agility, range attacks and so on.

Conclusion

As of now Deaths Door is a brilliant Indy game that is not just a clone of the old LOZ style games and actively strives to do something different.  It is infinitely better than the tunic demo, the whole package outside of the boss encounters are top tier and I will end up seeing what other areas the game has to offer and I will be finishing it and you can expect to see a review from me at some point, right now I would give it an 8.

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