Death’s Door tasks crows with reaping the souls of those who find themselves at the transition between life and death. As a crow, one can live forever so long as they continue to deliver the souls they are assigned. The mundanity of repetition is evident amongst your colleagues in the opening moments of the game. Someone has to do all the desk-work for assignment and allocation of souls after all. But what happens when a soul is lost? Well, then the timer begins and immortality starts to slip away. This is where our fated crow finds itself at the beginning of Death’s Door.
In addition to weapons, the player gets access to a host of spells throughout the game. They start with a simple bow and get better from there. On top of this, the game allows the players to upgrade these spells by defeating challenging side-bosses that, quite frankly, are the most difficult in the game. In addition to upgrading spells via bosses, players also have access to trade souls for magic upgrades back at HQ. A combination of weapon-play, spell-casting, and proper dodging make up the majority of Death’s Door’s gameplay, and though simple, is quite satisfying.
What would a Zelda-like game be without it’s puzzles? Death’s Door has quite a few of these, though they never hinder the pace of the game. Some are overly simple, while others are just right. You’ll find many enjoyable moments going back through the world to use a new spell you’ve acquired to unlock something you weren’t able to before. It’s an old video game technique, but it still works, so why abandon it? The best part of Death’s Door is that it doesn’t oversaturate with similar puzzles sprinkled throughout the entire game. Some hidden doors and areas were difficult to find because they used a puzzle-solution once, and I didn’t even know that it was something to look out for. For instance, to get to one of the shrines, I had to destroy invisible vases that I could only see by the reflection on the floor. That's the only time they used that trick through the entire game. I enjoyed finding these one-off puzzles and think other games would be wise to follow suit.
All in all, Death’s Door provides fantastic value for a 2-D Zelda lover. The aesthetic is wonderful and despite the cute charm around a dark setting, the overall message of the game is quite deep. With a playtime of under twelve hours, Death’s Door makes a point and proves it. It sets up a game with just enough story to keep you going, and just enough collectible goodies to keep you searching. Now, get out there little crow and start collecting. Those souls aren't going to gather themselves.
Objective Assessment: 8/10
Bonus: +1 for charming minimalistic art style. +1 for not overstaying its welcome.
Penalties: -1 forgettable sound effects. -1 for enemy variety.
Nerd Coefficient: 8/10
Posted by: Joe DelFranco - Fiction writer and lover of most things video games. On most days you can find him writing at his favorite spot in the little state of Rhode Island.