101 Ways to Die Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD


It’s not about killing; it’s about killing with style. This is the mantra behind Four Door Lemon Ltd.’s latest endeavor – 101 Ways to Die. Slated to release on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 soon this year, the game itself is a physics-based puzzle game with a bit of a bloody twist. Though, before I go into details about that particular twist, a bit of backstory.

You are a new assistant to the twisted (yes), evil (perhaps) Professor Ernst Splatfunder. Professor Splatfunder is a man who in the latter years of his life is on the verge of completing the masterpiece that is the amalgamation of his life’s career: a book entitled ‘101 Ways to Die’. During a moment of irony in motion, the book is destroyed by accident one night by one of the many lab-created creatures called Splatts. Splatts can be identified as small, ghoulish beings whose character makes up for their lack of intellect. After this grave affair pertaining to the destruction of the book, you, the player, are hired as the Professor’s new assistant. Like any good will aid, you are tasked with righting the wrong.


Harpoon + decapitation = congratulations.

It just so happens to be that the fine Professor’s definition of what is right happens to be killing as many splatts as possible. Considering Splatfunder has spent his good time defining the multiple configurations of dying, you are tasked with being as creative as possible when dealing death sevenfold on the ghoulish simpletons to obtain the fragmented pieces of his lost book. About as much time is spent setting up the story as it took to read the last few sentences I wrote to describe it. From henceforth, it is all about gameplay.

101 Ways to Die visually set up its gameplay in a perspectively similar manner to games such as Angry Birds, Worms, in that you are given a small, contained arena as a level. In this case, levels come in the forms of over-the-top laboratories filled with preordained contraptions the masochistic professor has placed for you to utilize. Devices such as swinging, spiked logs, auto-aiming harpoons, and spontaneously-raising spike traps are just a portion of the tools at your disposal. These particular devices fall under what the game categorizes as “spiked/projectile” tools that compose one of the three tool classes – the other two are “passive” and “ballistic”. The set of “passive” tools consists of bumpers, mirrors, slime, cake, and teleports. The “ballistic” set encompasses mines, bombs, stun bombs, lava pits, and cannons. Although each of device by itself would suffice in killing a Splatt, the game encourages you to use as many devices in succession within a single kill.

As I was presented with a two-dimensional overlay of each level, I was given two sets of level objectives. The primary objective, or “Graduate” objective, usually called for a more a straightforward goal of killing a certain number of splats. The secondary set of objectives, or “Master” objectives, often present the challenge of combining tools. When doing this, one must take into account the physical mechanics each device will have on the Splatt in order to set up a successful kill. For instance, I’m given the challenge to set up a bumper-to-spike kill, the spikes are already implemented within the level, coming out of the upper portion of one of the walls, it is my task to position the bumper so that when the Splatt walks over it will hurl him straight into the spikes. Doing this is simple enough considering the UI I am presented with, which allows me to see the path of the bumper’s trajectory with visual of a curving, green line. If my set up is successful, I will get a kill (which I did) as well as a few extra bonuses that include points and the lost pages of the Doctor’s book.


Reap the benefits of all your kills in glorious 1080p slow-motion replay, like nature intended

This is really the just simplest of combinations I was tasked with creating, with some of the later stages requiring a combination of three or more different tools as well as amping up the amount of Splatts I was to kill with that particular set of tools, which could become quite a challenge when considering certain devices lose their effect after being used once or twice. As a positive for when the game is finally released a little later this year, as the challenges got more intricate, I started to have more and more fun as I tried to predict whether or not the position of my devices would work or not. It was like obtaining schadenfreude through a game of chess, except for pawns and bishops, I had bombs and lava, and my reward was not a checkmate, but rather to see the cold, metallic walls be saturated in the blood of the naive Splatts

Although I was limited in terms of the amount of time I spent previewing the game -about three or four hours- towards the end of my play, I was starting to like the game more and more as the different forms of killing became more intricate and tedious. Considering that within that given amount of time I was only able to retrieve 13 of the 101 pages of the 101 Ways to Die book within the game. If my calculations serve me well, that would put the full game at around ten hours, which is actually much higher than I would have guessed when I initially started the game. This clock time makes me very excited for the finished version of the game, especially if the game only gets more nuanced with the styles of killing it requires you to carry out in order to progress.

Definitely keep an eye out for this one when it comes to PC, Xbox One, and PS4 later this year.