Some might say that the life of a crow is an unassuming one. Filled with shiny trinkets, sleepy worms, and the odd peck here and there. However, and some may not know this, but the world of crows is shrouded in mystery, and tragedy. Filled with radiant life, and muted death. And burdened by balance. For crows, in Death’s stead, are charged with guiding the souls of the deceased into the Aether, maintaining harmony, and warding off stagnation within the cycle of life. Of course, they could also just be crows.
Well, the aviary auteurs Acid Nerve team up with Devolver Digital in the hopes to unveil this poultry predicament, in their soul satisfying action-adventure, Death’s Door! We had the pleasure of playing it, so we took a moment to peel ourselves away from the screen, to tell you what we thought!
I used to be quite intimidated when it came to Soulsborne style games, but once I gave them a try, and even discovered I had a knack for them, I was 100% on board from there on out! While Death’s Door doesn’t necessarily reach Dark Souls levels of hard, it’s definitely got some solid challenge involved and I was totally down for an adorable adventure game with a badass soul collecting crow at the helm.
I know I’d seen trailers previous to receiving Death’s Door, but really I didn’t have a lot of expectations going into the game originally and now that we’ve completed it, I can’t believe there wasn’t more fanfare surrounding it’s release!
I’m an absolute sucker when it comes to unique and moody action-adventure games, and Devolver seems to have an eye for pure gold, because they drop them left and right. So, when I spotted Death’s Door in their upcoming releases, I was all the way on board before I even saw it in motion. It had such a pleasing aesthetic, that reminded me of the elegant cell shading in games like The Wind Waker, and Breath of the Wild. Only this time you’d be playing a cute harbinger of death.
Once I caught a glimpse of Death’s Door fluid action however, that was the nail in the coffin. It looked like a game we wouldn’t want to miss out on and so we took the plunge!
Yes! I mean, that’s all that really needs to be said, but in all honesty Death’s Door is one of those games that comes around every so often that satisfies in all degrees. It’s action is intuitive and deliberate, where you have to think before you attack, lest you get overwhelmed by your enemy, granting the game a hefty amount of challenge. At the same time however, it’s balanced with simplicity, meaning it’s easy to pick up and play, and try again if you fail. There may have been a few parts where we had to bang our head off of a boss for a while, but it never got so frustrating that we didn’t want to come back and keep trying.
Then there were the puzzles which were fun to solve, and utilized each of the abilities you are able to acquire. Like shooting switches with your bow, or lighting torches with your fire magic, unveiling hidden paths with your bombs, and exploring previously unreachable areas with your grappling hook! Plus, if used properly, these abilities can help tremendously in battle. Especially against bosses!
And if that wasn’t enough, it’s all hammered home with charming dialog that’ll make you chuckle, and a soundtrack that’ll get your blood pumping when the moment calls for it, and soothes you as you’re coming down from the rush.
I see alot of comments comparing Death’s Door to The Legend of Zelda, and while I can definitely understand the comparison, I think there are much better ones to be made. An adorable adventure game does not make a Zelda, people, come on! Honestly, what came to my mind was Hyper Light Drifter, which I suppose also has its roots in LoZ, but like I said, there’s more to a Zelda game than just cute graphics with puzzles to solve. There’s a feel or a vibe that goes along with it and I just wasn’t getting any LoZ vibes from Death’s Door. But Hyper Light Drifter, Moonlighter, Bastion? Definitely!
As I mentioned earlier it doesn’t ever really match Dark Souls in the hard-as-balls department, but if you’ve come seeking a challenge I can guarantee you’ll find it in Death’s Door. You’re given a decent amount of health in order to wade through the various areas riddled with enemies, but believe you me, things can go south pretty dang fast and you’ll find yourself popping back through the area’s Door to try it all over again. Plenty of times! Luckily in this game however, they were gentle on you and you don’t lose all your collected souls upon death.
All in all this game is about as perfect as I could ever ask for. The graphics were gorgeously detailed, the dialogue was goofy yet intriguing, and the soundtrack is one I will absolutely be adding to my gaming music rotation. While none of the puzzles were particularly brain busters, they were certainly clever and more often than not they had you bobbing your head in appreciation after solving each one. And don’t get me started on the post game! More robust than your Noni’s seven day tomato sauce!
If I had to choose something to complain about, I know we mentioned a few times during our playthrough that a map would come in handy, but obviously we made it through without it just fine.
Truly there isn’t much I would change about Death’s Door. In a lot of ways, it was a finely crafted action game that never really got in your way, and eased you into wanting to play “just a bit more”. If I was to pick one thing however that irked me slightly while playing, it would be the lack of any kind of map.
The world of Death’s Door may be gorgeous and intriguing, but it’s also quite labyrinthine! Which means it can be, at times, easy to get lost and left not knowing where you need to go, or where you’ve been. I mean, having a map that we could have referenced while playing, would have been tremendously helpful! That said though, I can appreciate there not being one as well since it forced us to learn the areas we were exploring. Which reminded me a lot of how the Dark Souls games handled exploration. Make the players learn the landscape. That way they’ll appreciate each and every one of those shortcuts!
Death’s Door really lended itself well to playing it together. It was fun brainstorming how to solve each puzzle, calling out where we thought secrets may be, and of course sharing in our tragic deaths during a difficult boss fight, and blissful victories once we finally defeated them! That and with the game being divided into distinct areas to explore, it made it easy to pass the controller back and forth after we completed each objective.
Nonetheless, because it was such a fun game to play, it may have been difficult to pry the controller out of each other’s hands when it was time to switch turns. Especially when we were trying to find all of the collectibles!
We had a fantastic time playing Death’s Door together, in case that wasn’t already obvious. It had nice divided areas for the most part, so splitting up our turns was pretty simple. And then when I came to polishing up any missing upgrades, or secrets, we just did a few each until we got everything.
We really had a lot of fun together with this one. The story was even captivating enough to have our eight year old sitting in between us on the couch occasionally, asking an onslaught of questions and screaming as we fought bosses. You know, as we whittled ourselves down to our last health bar. If you can successfully unglued his face from Roblox for even a few minutes, you’ve got something special on your hands no doubt!
It goes without saying, but we had an absolute blast with Death’s Door! It seemingly came out of nowhere and floored us with its polish, its charm, and its penchant for making you want to play more. So, if you’re in the mood for an action-adventure game that rivals some of the genre’s top tier entries, then we wholeheartedly recommend you check it out!