Death’s Door – $19.99 on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S.
Death’s Door is the story of a little crow who collects restless souls and sends them to the Afterworld, except now one soul was stolen, and utilizing ARPG combat mechanics and Zelda-like puzzles, you must retrieve the stolen soul. If that doesn’t sell you on it, which it probably won’t, let me tell you that this is one of the most cutesy, darling, fully fulfilled indie sensibilities type of game I’ve ever played. The combat feels tight and responsive, introducing new things just when it feels like you’ve gotten the hang of everything you’ve seen so far. The different regions are fleshed out, and the variety keeps everything refreshing and new, while the hub world, made in complete contrast featuring a color palette of gray and more gray, perfectly encapsulates what the hub world is: a place of employment. The audio and visual presentation, especially with title cards for new characters, round out what has ended up being one of the most charming gaming experiences I’ve had in a very, very long time.
Developed by Acid Nerve.
World of Horror – $14.99 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
World of Horror is a pixel art PC-98 rogue-lite with turn-based combat, and if I’m being honest, I didn’t think I would like it. The gameplay seemed old-school in a bad way, very complicated and antiquated, but the concept still drew me in. A Junji Ito/Lovecraft-inspired game where you get to solve mysteries and uncover the things that go bumping in the night? Inject it into my veins! That being the case, I tried it, and I’m so glad my assumptions were wrong. I haven’t been this obsessed about a game in a long time. I want to keep playing until I discover everything this has to give me.
First of all, the gameplay is incredibly easy to understand. The mysteries are actually very streamlined f you want to play them that way, and after a mere twenty minutes, you’re probably going to know how every feature works. But of course, it doesn’t mean the game is easy. But before going into that, let’s talk about the decisions you can make before playing. If you customize your playthrough, you get to choose from a rooster of five characters with different stats that will reflect how you prefer to play, decide a seed for the world and its events, one out of four old gods that will affect the gameplay in their own unique way, and even a different timeline with some other alternative features regarding the perks you get when you level up. This makes every time you boot up the game be totally unique, giving a lot of replayability.
When you get to the real game, you’ll start running into the grotesque and unreal monsters that walk this world. You can decide if you want to fight against them or run away. Running away increases your doom meters, which represents how fucked up the world is thanks to the unstoppable presence of the old god you chose. However, fighting isn’t much better, as even on the easiest mode, you’ll be very defenseless, even with the weapons you can find or buy and the spells you can learn. You’re just a human against ineffable creatures, so you have to choose your battles and how to approach them carefully. But of course, this place is not only inhabited by monsters, as you can find allies in your classmates, dogs, or varied characters from the story. Some characters could go either way, depending on your actions.
There’s quite a bit of exploration too. You can detour from the mystery and go anyplace you want, where you will find other random events and bite-sized mysteries. This is something that I think makes the game very special. Horror is usually portrayed to be in a limited space; a forest, a mansion, a room, or even a person. But same as it is with the works World of Horror takes inspiration from, the horror here inhabits this world as much as regular people do, maybe even more. Even when you run away from an enemy, you’re bound to find another one in your next two moves. The line that separates the supernatural from the regular world becomes blurry, and there’s nowhere to run or hide.
Even if it doesn’t sound interesting to you, I’d suggest you give it a try. You might just get sucked into a World of Horror before you know it.
Developed by Panstasz.