Life Goes On: Done to Death PS4 Review
Publisher: Infinite Monkeys Entertainment Developer: Infinite Monkeys Entertainment
Genre: Puzzle, Platformer Players: 1 Age Rating: 12+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A
The premise of Life Goes On: Done to Death is a simple one: you guide cartoon Knights around 2.5D levels, solving puzzles using the various gizmos and traps and trying to reach the all important golden chalice. A simple concept that is taken a bit further when you realise that to get ahead, the Knights that you use have to die in order for your next Knight character to progress, and a simple puzzle platformer becomes something a little bit more special.
We’ve become conditioned in games to avoid traps and anything with spikes, so it takes some getting used to realising that you have to plunge your character to their doom in order to move forward, but once you have adjusted, the game is really quite simple, at least to begin with. Some of the earlier puzzles can be solved in a matter of minutes; I was breezing through them with ease, though the later ones do put your logical thinking to the test.
There is not much of a plot, with the Knights setting out to find the Cup of Life. The flow of the game is straightforward, with puzzles taking place one after the other. You start the level with a quick pan shot over the obstacles you will face, and then your Knight appears from a checkpoint. From there, you navigate your way around, dying and then using the bodies of the deceased Knights to hold down buttons to stop fire contraptions in order to pass by, or freezing yourself so that another Knight can then use your body – frozen in a block of ice – to reach higher places, quickly pass over flames, or use them to jump over wide chasms and reach other platforms. In later levels you will also be using contraptions that defy the laws of gravity and a green light that you need to keep on yourself in order to pass or open other areas. Portals make an appearance and you’ll also find yourself up against zombie Knights later on, needing to use them to also solve puzzles. The levels are certainly clever, though later levels can seem overwhelming upon first glance as the camera pans over the large area, with it seeming as though there is a lot going on, though thankfully you’ll soon find that you only need to solve certain sections at a time in order to reach your goal. On your way to the goal, you can even try to meet Jeff, a strange creature that has a taste for metal; he must use a good toothpaste. Jeff is found somewhere in every level and although finding him doesn’t reward you with anything, he should be seen as more of a bonus achievement for you to complete.
There are a total of five areas for you to traverse, and whilst they do each offer something new, there’s little in the way of surprises, and whilst Life Goes On: Done to Death is a quirky game, it certainly isn’t an outrageous title full of surreal moments, the game feeling quite placid. This is helped by the graphics and music of the game, with the use of cool colours being used throughout and a gentle, classical-like soundtrack. Strangely, I noticed that the PC version has voices for the Knights, where they squeal or groan upon death, though this was omitted from the PS4 version, possibly because the voices were distracting from the tone of the game. There are some rewards in the form of hats that you can collect; these don’t offer any special power or enhanced abilities, but certainly make your Knight look more characterful and, of course, there are the PlayStation Trophies. You can also try and complete each individual levels challenge by completing the area within a certain time and with using only a certain amount of Knights; for the completest and players that enjoy speed-running games, Life Goes On: Done to Death offers a lot of replayability, though for the more casual and avid puzzle players, one playthrough will be more than enough.
Overall, Life Goes On: Done to Death is not a game that will blow your mind and make you think it is the best game ever, although it will certainly not make you think what on earth you are playing either, and it does offer you a simple yet challenging time, a game that can be played in large or short bursts. The puzzles are never so difficult that they will leave you pulling your hair out, but offer enough of a challenge that, with enough tries, you will be able to complete them and feel satisfied rather than sighing with relief that the level is done. The concept of the game is certainly a unique one and has been used to great effect, allowing for a very different way of puzzle-solving and challenges any preconceived ways that you may have come to learn about how puzzles are solved. In all, a nice little package of a game.