Felix the Reaper is a very memorable puzzle game that has been released for the PC, the macOS, the PS4, the Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch. Primarily, this is because of its one-of-a-kind presentation. Unfortunately, there are a lot of reviewers out there who seem to agree that its puzzles aren’t quite capable of living up to its presentation. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Felix the Reaper:
1. The Title Is Very Descriptive
There are plenty of games with not very useful titles that say little about what they are supposed to be. Fortunately, Felix the Reaper isn’t one of them because its title is very descriptive in nature. First, the protagonist is named Felix. Second, Felix is a Reaper, which is a term that should conjure up images of the Grim Reaper for most people out there.
2. You Play a Psychopomp
Felix isn’t what most people would call a Grim Reaper. For one, he has a very cheerful attitude. For another, while Felix does have some design elements that are reminiscent of the Grim Reaper, he doesn’t match the classic look for such figures. However, interested individuals should make no mistake about the fact that he is indeed a psychopomp, which is a term used for a wide range of figures that facilitate the passage of being from the world of the living to the world of the dead.
3. You Play a Cheerful Psychopomp
Generally speaking, psychopomps and other figures associated with the world of the dead aren’t very happy figures. As a species, we are terrified of death, which in turn, means that our death gods and other death-associated figures tend not to be very cheerful individuals. Due to this, Felix is interesting because of how his cheerfulness contrasts with the nature of his position, though it should be mentioned that cheerful psychopomps and other death-associated figures are by no means unprecedented in world mythology.
4. You Play a Very Hands-On Psychopomp
There is a wide range of psychopomps with a very wide range of responsibilities that can be found out there. As such, it is worth mentioning that Felix is a very hands-on psychopomp in the sense that he is responsible for killing people, which is appropriate considering that he is called a Reaper. On the whole, this serves to provide even more contrast between his character and his position.
5. Felix Is In Love with Life
Amusingly, it can be said that Felix is in love with life in more than one sense of the word. First, he loves life in a metaphorical sense, seeing as how he is a very cheerful individual. Second, Felix’s love for life is a bit more literal than most cases, seeing as how he happens to have a crush on a member of the Ministry of Life.
6. There Are a Lot of Danse Macabre Jokes that Can Be Made
The connection between death and dancing isn’t an unprecedented one in western culture. After all, the Late Middle Ages had an entire genre of allergories called danse macabre, which can be recognized by its depictions of dancing skeletons. In particular, it is worth noting that danse macabre often features participants from both the highest and the lowest rungs of medieval societies, which is important because the genre was meant to symbolize the universal nature of death as the ultimate equalizer. As such, the danse macabre can be considered an example of the memento mori, which saw widespread use in medieval Europe as a way to encourage the viewer to think about the status of their soul upon their death.
7. Features Divine Bureaucracies
Given the Ministry of Life, it should come as no surprise to learn that the setting of Felix the Reaper has divine bureaucracies. Often, the concept of divine bureaucracies is associated with the Chinese pantheon, which makes sense because later interpretations were often divine reflections of the earthly bureaucracies that existed under the imperial dynasties. In fact, it is interesting to note that Chinese hell is very bureaucratic in nature, so much so that it even comes with minor functionaries who can be bribed to reduce the punishments of those who have been sent there.
8. The Puzzles Are Centered On Killing
By this point, interested individuals should have no problems guessing that the puzzles in Felix the Reaper are centered on killing people. After all, Felix is a Reaper, meaning that it is natural for a game centered on him to be focused on his reaping while dancing.
9. Some of the Kills Can Be Very Elaborate
On the whole, Felix the Reaper has a very darkly comedic feel. Sometimes, it can be downright silly, which is something that extends to its kills. For example, one kill involves rolling a barrel into a house so that it will knock a deer head onto the unsuspecting victim, who will stumble out in time for a hunter to shoot him under the mistaken impression that he is a deer. This kind of dark humor is by no means limited to the titular character but is instead spread throughout the game as a whole.
10. Not the First Take on the Basic Premise
Felix the Reaper is an example of a game in which the premise was locked down before the mechanics needed to give substance to that premise. The people behind the game knew that they wanted to do something with a cheerful psychopomp, but they didn’t settle on a puzzle game until some way into the process of game development. The legacy of this process can be seen in how Felix has a red tie, which is a nod to Agent 47’s characteristic look from the Hitman series. This is because one of the earlier visions for what the game could be was much closer to said series than the puzzle game that interested individuals winded up getting.