It never ceases to amaze me how amazing indie devs can be and how they can come out with some of the best games, like Hades and Stardew Valley – and Death’s Door is no exception. Have you ever thought to yourself
“Man, I just wish they would make a game that was half Dark Souls and half Zelda!”…
Yes? Well, you’re in luck, because Death’s Door is here.
A Simplistic, Yet Enjoyable Story
Death’s Door kicks off with you controlling a little crow with a colourful sword. You quickly realize that you’re what’s called a “reaper” and your job is to move between “realms” to collect souls. Sound familiar? You head off on what seems to be a regular job when some old Grey Crow steals the soul you obtained and knocks you out. You then track him down only to find out that the reason he stole the soul was to try and open a door that is the endpoint of all life.
I guess you could call it, I don’t know, Death’s Door. As it turns out, the soul was not strong enough to open the door which means you are now tasked with acquiring three giant souls so the Grey Crow can try again. This story, while simplistic, does a great job of moving you forward. It’s not an expertly written narrative but it doesn’t need to be, as it focuses more on world design and gameplay.
The Zelda-Esque Gameplay of Death’s Door
The gameplay for Death’s Door is so Zelda-esque it’s hilarious and brilliant. Death’s Door is a top-down action game where you move between realms, collect souls, spend those souls to improve your stats, and collect weapons and other shiny things. You move through the realms and investigate what each of them has to offer.
There are countless boss battles that are not always so easy, especially when you only have one bar of health left. Not to mention some great puzzles and hidden areas as you hack and slash your way through each realm. The controls themselves are pretty basic but very crisp to allow for the dodge to play an important part. There is just something about a little black crow destroying all the monsters that is quite satisfying.
The Beautifully Dull World of Death’s Door
The World Design for Death’s Door is probably my favourite part of this title. Playing as a reaper the devs really want you to have a sense of darkness as you work your way through the game. To accentuate this the realm the reapers are from is black and white and really speaks to that dark tone.
Not to mention that the other realms have relatively bland colours which only makes your attacks and a couple of more colourful aspects really stand out. It gives you a sense of despair as you work your way through collecting souls. Plus, when you partner this with the soundtrack, it really gives you those Souls game vibes.
Death’s Door has a little bit for everyone. It has a good story with some great combat that can be harder than anticipated. Partner this with an expertly created world from its colours to world design to music. It all adds up to an incredibly immersive experience that pulls you in and makes you want to play more. Plus this was created by indie developers Acid Nerve, just another incredibly awesome game by a relatively small team. They absolutely nailed it.
Death’s Door is a prime example of what a dedicated indie team can achieve. It flows incredibly well with incredible combat mixed with some breathtaking visuals. The contrast between the colourful attacks and the bland world works fantastically well, and the controls are crisp and precise. Death’s Door has to be in contention for not only one of the best indie games, but one of the best titles this year in general.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Devolver Digital. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.