In 2015, an English study made up of two people launched a most curious proposal on the market: armed with a single arrow and a single point of life, we had to face creatures of colossal size. Its name was Titan Souls, and its originality and (moderate) success served to raise awareness of those responsible, Acid Nerve. Now, six years later, the studio is back with Death's Door, a game that could be considered the opposite of Titan Souls: instead of having an original proposal, we find something well known, a "Zelda-like" game with fighting, exploration, dungeons, puzzles and even isometric perspective.
But that does not mean that this new work also stands out for its originality, starting with its protagonist, a crow who works in an office ... collecting the souls of the dead. If we have aroused your curiosity, read on to find out what we found in our Death's Door review for Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, and PC.
Death's Door Review: What Can You Expect from the Game?
Edgar Allan Poe's Favorite Game
The little raven protagonist of Death's Door, known simply as Reaper, arrives one more day at the office -the HUB of adventure, a noir-style place characterized by black and white colours and the sound of typewriters typing- to submit to the eternal routine: accept a contract, go out to the outside world, liquidate the undesirable on duty and collect his soul.
But when the job is about to be completed, something goes wrong and the soul disappears. This, which doesn't seem like a big deal, is a terrible problem in the world of Death's Door; a world in which the rules of life have changed after death itself has disappeared.
We have a semi-open world (there is a division between some areas and parts that we cannot access until we have the necessary skill), full of enemies and secrets; We have three dungeons in which puzzles, a key object or skill, and a boss fight await us; and we have different weapons, collectibles and health, and magic improvements when finding four shards.
The only difference, more or less remarkable, is that we can improve four aspects of Reaper (strength, dexterity, agility, or magic) by spending the souls obtained, which gives it a very light role-playing touch. And no, nothing is lost here by dying.
What About Death's Door Dynamics?
When it comes to action, Death's Door is forceful and satisfying. We can chain blows, make dodges and use ranged spells, with a magic system that recharges with melee attacks.
Although basic, this system works perfectly thanks to the enemy attack patterns being very well defined. As soon as we have faced a specific type a couple of times, we will know how to recognize them and act accordingly (especially when we fight against waves; it is important to know who we should go after first). We have missed a little more variety when it comes to melee weapons because, although we can find things beyond the main sword, in the end, what differentiates them is speed and attack power.
The most remarkable thing about Death's Door in this aspect is the health system since the Reaper has (at first) four points of life. Or what is the same: four impacts and goodbye. This means that the Death's Door combat constantly invites us not to be hit, giving rise to really tense situations, such as when we manage to overcome a confrontation with only one life point.
The bosses are of course the stars of the movie, with very well-designed confrontations that test our skills and ability to recognize attacks. This is where you can see, and a lot, the experience that Acid Nerve acquired when developing Titan Souls. If you are concerned about the difficulty, you can rest assured: Death's Door is a fairly easy title and there have only been two or three clashes that have choked us.
Death's Door Graphics
But let's talk about the sections that we liked the most about Death's Door: its characters and its visual design. Throughout the adventure, we meet a cast of the most diverse: from office colleagues obsessed with work to victims of a curse that has changed their head for a pot (filled with soup, yes), to an octopus who controls the corpse of an old sailor and runs his own bar-restaurant.
The tone of Death's Door leans most of the time towards black humour, but among all the jokes and surreal characters, we also find a rather sharp criticism about deplorable working conditions or a deep (and necessary) speech about learning to accept death. The world and the characters have tremendous personalities.
And three-quarters of the same happens with the visuals: without being a cutting-edge game, the artistic style makes it the kind of game that easily enters the eyes. There are no highly detailed textures or state-of-the-art effects, but there are beautiful views, locations with a lot of identity and characters, and enemies with a very striking visual design. Especially remarkable is the colour contrast between the office and the outside world.
The animations are very successful, yes, with small details such as the different poses that the enemies adopt when they die, the leaves rising when walking on them, and so on.
And with the soundtrack, they have done something very intelligent: despite not having a high number of compositions, the catchy main theme is repeated often (changing the tone or intensity), thus becoming another of those elements that create Death's Door remarkable personality.
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