Life Goes On: Done to Death Review

Usual death in puzzle games result in failure. Life Goes on: Done to Death subverts this trend by encouraging players to kill themselves in order actually solve puzzles. You play as a knight…or more like multiple knights that when killed will respawn as new knights.  The body of the recently deceased stick around the level and can then be used for puzzle solving purposes.  If a spike pit is too large to jump across simple impale several knights and walk across.  Drop yourself into an electrical zapper to complete a circuit with your body that opens a door. All these are viable strategies in your knightly quest for collecting golden chalices, because that’s what knights do. While playing through each level I found myself asking how can I kill myself to get what I want. It’s a comically dark approach to puzzle solving.

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The solution to every level involves collecting a golden chalice. All these are cleverly named for silliness sake. Upon your puzzle solving adventures players will encounter four different worlds each with their own distinct atmosphere contraptions. The first world is set within a mine system that evolves into a lava filled volcano introducing fire which incinerates the deceased. Normally this would be an acceptable way to dispose of a body, but not when you need the “dead weight”  of a body to trigger a pressure switch which a flamethrower is guarding. The second world is an iceworld which introduces frost blowers which will turn knights into ice cubes useful  for pushing, standing upon, or mixing in beverages. The castle world introduces electric circuits, gravity wells, and triggers that activate with life force. The latter adds a tricky element in a game so focused on death as a solution as these switches turn off if your knight dies. Navigating a knight through a level without tasting death can be tricky. The final world is Ruins which takes place in magical floating city. This world is the most puzzle intensive and will really exercise your brain in a game that in generally mildly challenging.

I beat the level, but did I really win...

I beat the level, but did I really

Difficulty with the puzzles slowly ramps up, but never really feel tough until the last world. Solving puzzles gave me that tinge of excitement of “I’m a clever person” that keep me playing. For completionist each puzzle offers different victory conditions to strive for. There is a death par reward that can be unlocked if players are “under par” for amount of knight lives used. There is also a speed run award for completing a puzzle in under a certain amount of time. The finally reward is the Jeff award. Jeff is a hairy monster thing that loves to snack on knights. Feeding him earns his reward for a level and requires some extra brain power to solve how to get to him.  Completing these extra objects adds vanity items to your knight which brings variety to all your knightlings.  These of course are silly things like using a fish for a sword or giving yourself a propeller hat.  It’s a simple system but is enough to make the extra effort worthwhile.

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Shovel Knight

Although the subject of suicide is unconventional for a puzzle game, Life Goes On: Done to Death tackles it with wit and silly puns. This helps lighten the mood and doesn’t make you feel like such a psychopath for murdering a dozen knights in a level. It helps that the game is genuinely humorously written. I chuckled to myself most of my playthrough through the game which makes playing all the more fun.

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Life Goes On: Done to Death is available now on PS4 and PC!

Reviewed on PC with a copy provided by developers Infinite Monkeys Entertainment

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