Overall - 90%
For the most part, Death's Door hits it out of the park and is easily a contender for indie GOTY. Fans of top-down action RPGs shouldn't hesitate to pick this one up.
After being announced in March earlier this year, Death’s Door is here just four months later. Is this action-adventure worth playing, or should you spend your time elsewhere? Check out our review and find out.
Death’s Door Review
Death’s Door begins with you arriving to work. You are a reaper, and your job is to collect souls. You are also playing as a crow and work with other crows. You show up late and are put to work right away. Your first job is to collect a soul from a plant creature and return it to Reaper HQ. The fight acts as the combat tutorial since you barely fight anything before the boss. After beating the boss, a large crow pops up behind you, knocks you out, and steals the soul you just got. You return to HQ and have to go collect the soul back from the large crow.
Reapers are immortal as long as they are not on the job. However, since you lost the boss’ soul, you are still on the job and aging. You quickly find the large crow, and he tells you about Death’s Door – the endpoint for all life. He says that you can all be free if you collect three giant souls and bust this door open. Unfortunately, he already used your stolen boss soul, so you can’t collect it back until the door is opened. What follows is a 7-10 hour, well-crafted journey through this ruined world.
Death’s Door is a top-down action RPG with minor Soulslike mechanics. Enemies respawn when you die, but you don’t lose your EXP. Combat is simple to use, yet challenging to master. Running in and spamming attacks won’t get you far. Instead, you need to learn enemy patterns and jump in when they are vulnerable to get a couple of swings in. For bosses, this can take a few attempts, but the game always felt fair. Most of my deaths came from me getting greedy and swinging one more time than I should have.
Outside of melee combat, there are magic attacks that also act as your tools for exploration. You start with a magic bow and pick up other abilities as you progress. I like that the bow was a mainstay of my attacking pattern throughout the whole game. It never felt weak; in fact, it was my saving grace in a couple of fights. You also get a bomb, which takes two magic points, a fireball, and a hookshot. These can all be upgraded if you explore and find the mini-boss that holds their secret. For instance, the bomb upgrade makes it so you don’t get damaged if you throw it close to you.
Speaking of exploration, there is a lot to see in Death’s Door. First, you have collectibles scattered throughout the world. They don’t give you anything, but they do show up back in your office. You can also get crystals to increase your HP and magic points, and they are hard to find. Hidden weapons are scattered in the world and can help you even the odds against new enemies. Finally, NPCs hang out at a little hub and share secrets with you if you spend the time to talk to them. Plenty to see and plenty to do.
Progression also comes in the form of upgrades you get by spending your experience. For example, you can upgrade damage, speed, dexterity, and magic. These upgrades will improve something, but each time you upgrade, the next one becomes more expensive. This method encourages you to be more well-rounded as opposed to focusing on brute strength or magic. You cannot get more HP this way, so getting speed to improve your dodge is necessary. Enemies don’t drop a ton of EXP either, meaning each upgrade is tactical.
The lack of EXP the enemies drops is a bit of a problem for me. I didn’t see the point in fighting with all the enemies unless I was forced to. I ran past most of the enemies in a couple of areas and reset myself when I got to a checkpoint. Another problem I had was that there is no map. NPCs will guide you to the best of their ability, but one would have really helped. I did end up getting lost a couple of times because of this.
For the most part, Death’s Door hits it out of the park and is easily a contender for indie GOTY. Fans of top-down action RPGs shouldn’t hesitate to pick this one up.
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