Being DEATH must be an interesting line of business. Making sure people meet their maker, or you, at their appointed time to keep the cosmic wheels turning properly. We’re used to seeing DEATH as this grim figure, as serious in his demeanour as his task entails, though if Terry Pratchett is to be taken as a guide, DEATH will have a biting wit and a knack for sarcasm.
But what if DEATH enjoyed his job, put a little soul into it and danced his way to your grave? That’s exactly what the in-development Felix the Reaper has for us, a boogieing, pumping Grim Reaper, enjoying some sweet tunes while he arranges the cosmic forces to make sure someone bites the dust!
Felix the Reaper is an isometric puzzler where your task is to move Felix across the shadows on the grid-like stages to complete his objective, which may or may not involve putting something alive in the path of something that will kill them. Felix can’t stand in the light, but he’s got the power to change the position of the sun between two settings, to shift shadows into different pathways for him to follow.
The first stage commanded me to take a poor animal, move it from his current position and into the path of a gigantic spear thrown by a hunter, with the rest of the stages in the chapter following said hunter, getting him drinks and slowly preparing the means and method of his demise, which is the last stage.
I enjoy the concept a lot, but I will say it would be cool if there were more settings to the shadows. Your button switches sunlight between two predefined locations that turn shadows horizontal or vertical, but what about a beam of light from the opposite direction? You’d still get the shadows in their given orientation but instead of belonging to the tree on the top of the map, they’d belong to the one on the lowest part of it. I can think of a few neat puzzles that depend on moving the shadows all around you.
While the first stage in the preview chapter is fairly straightforward, the rest of the levels quickly ramp up the difficulty and complexity of the puzzles, such as adding multiple objects to move and use to create shadows and buttons and levers to magnetically pull a poor dead cow attached to a wagon. The last one in particular I found really amazing and I appreciate the increase in challenge. I’m always happy when a puzzle game stumps me, even if it’s temporary. Having said so, the games “next step” button, which seems like a hint system, needs a bit of work, as it only shows you the next item you need to collect or where to take it but offers no aid in getting there. Similarly, the button that shows your goal is rather pointless. The stages are never large enough for you to forget what the goal is. Maybe in a future build the levels will reach a complexity level where the button is indeed useful, but I do hope that if that happens, the “next step” actually works as a hint system.
The preview build I played with mentioned there would be more music tracks coming for the final version, but I’ll be honest, as pleasant or upbeat as the music was—some levels had fast techno beats and others had slower, ballad like melodies—the only thing I kept thinking was, “I wish I could drop some of my songs in a folder for the game to play.” I really want to see Felix dance to Another One Bites the Dust, Moves like Jagger or some other very appropriate or punny tunes for DEATH to dance to.
I love the art-style, especially for the human characters in the stages, their features exaggerated, and the snazzy suit Felix is wearing, the red tie reminding me of Agent 47. Who knows, maybe being the Hitman for so long means that’s gonna be his job in the afterlife! I like that though you’re playing as death, the levels are colourful and when you complete objectives, you get disco-ball lighting effects. Fits really well with the dancing reaper protagonist.
What I liked the most though is how Death and the Ministry of Death seem really high tech while the human world in the game seems to be nearly medieval, at least from the poor humans’ attire.
The preview build was short, but I gotta say I enjoyed my time with Felix. It’s a joy to see the Grim Reaper just dancing his way to success and I can’t wait for it to be ready for review!