Puzzle games that feature a nice balance in terms of difficulty seem to be a rare bird in this day and age. Sure, we have great puzzlers like The TALOS Principle and The Witness, but more often than not I find that puzzle games struggle with applying a difficulty curve that depends on how familiar gamers are with your brand of logic. Ending up with most games having a mix of hair pulling difficult puzzles intermingled with puzzles that end up solved the moment you look at them. Not to say itâs a recent problem, as point and click puzzle games have had their fair share of moon logic moments, but the problem is frequent and recent enough that I find titles like Life Goes On: Done to Death to be a refreshing change in the scenery.
Jeff costs a spawn, but who doesnât want to feed a giant fuzzball.
Life Goes On: Done to Death is a puzzle platformer made and published by Infinite Monkeys Entertainment, a studio who now has my favourite company name of all time award, wherein players are tasked with finding âThe Cup of Lifeâ. A mystical artifact that doesâ¦ something; but if the king wants it, the king gets it, regardless of how useful it may be in the long run.
Of Course, the path to the mythical Cup of Life is filled with trapsÂ and unavoidable death; but thatâs okayÂ because you have an army of disposable knights that spawn at the press of a button. Taking a page from games like Seppukuties and Super Karoshi, death is not only an inevitabilityÂ but also a requirement; since the corpses of your former allies are the key to solving many of the puzzles featured in Life Goes On.
Done to Death is the expansion of all this; adding more assets like levels, death traps, boss fights, and even customizable characters, while retaining the same humour and style of the original release. Even expanding upon what was already there with an integrated story placed on the map, detailing the humorously dark struggles of your doomed knights as they move from zone to zone in search of the Cup of Life.
The path to the Cup of Life is full of deathâ¦ and other cups.
These new maps, and the game in generalÂ are all quite gorgeous to behold. Excellent 3D modelling, animation, and lighting detail give each and every stage an enjoyable atmosphere that works well towards alleviating the frustration one might feel on later puzzles, and will definitely keep players interested in continuing the game, if only to see what the next zone will look like. Background assets do get reused somewhat, but it wonât be very noticeable unless you look for it. Whether itâs in the starting caves, or the dank dungeons of The Castle, each environment is a pleasurable experience, despite all the death that occurs in them.
Making up part of this ambience are the traps, which range from simple spikes and bottomless pits to full on reanimation, the variety and usage of these obstacles builds anticipation for what the next zone might make use of, with each puzzle truly being genuinely intriguing and fun without being too difficult. It even goes so far as to mess with player expectations, using normally lethal or annoying traps to benefit the player, or turning normally helpful objects like checkpoints into rage inducing hazards. I am one hundred percent serious when I say that any time I see the checkpoint poles in a stage now, I have to look around carefully and scrutinise it to make sure touching it wonât undo a chunk of my progress.
Humorous post level stats show you exactly what youâre in for.
Not to say the game isnât fun, however, Done to Death manages to keep the fun and difficulty balanced in ways I never wouldâve expected. Maybe itâs because thereâs something cathartic about bouncing a knight shot from a cannon into a circuit so you can activate a single bridge, but there were no puzzles in this game that couldnât be solved by just taking some time to think carefully, and each stage provides a huge amount of satisfaction upon reaching the cup.
Of course, the satisfaction is just one reason to play this game, as this game has a phenomenal soundtrack. I donât normally comment or pay much attention to the soundtracks in most games, but with this title, I found myself stopping completely just to enjoy the music. The soundtrack is available for purchase as DLC, and I canât recommend it enough; this is one of the better game soundtracks Iâve heard in awhile. Each track fits the locale to great effect, and makes solving the puzzles a much more enjoyable experience. A good game should have good mechanics and design, but the music is definitely a highlight that only adds to the experience.
Overall, Life Goes On: Done to Death is one of the better puzzle games Iâve played, PC or otherwise. It has a great, unique premise with fun puzzles that are wonderfullyÂ designed and make use of every possible idea that could come from the mechanics. On top of that, itâs gorgeous in regard to both sound and graphical quality; making this one of the better games Iâve had the pleasure of playing this year. If you like puzzle games, and titles like The Witness are too expensive, Life Goes On has you there as well; only costing $12.99 on the steam store, and right now being on sale for 25% off. This title has enough charm, appeal, and fun packed into it though to make it a must have to any puzzle nerds collection; regardless of the price tag attached to it.