Have a Nice Death is a new rougelite platformer by developer Magic Design Studios that puts players into the cloak of the Grim Reaper as he tries to put things back into balance. In this game, Death is seen as an overworked CEO of Death Inc. who is on the brink of having a nervous breakdown. His employees are partying and running amok while souls are being mishandled through a variety of mischievous means. Therefore, Death must go out there and remind everyone why he is the “Big Boss” of the afterlife. This is the basic premise for this new action-adventure indie. Even though this sounds like a basic concept in terms of gaming, this new title does come with some serious depth.
Since this game will be a “rougelite” experience, that alone gives this game a breath of fresh air apart from its kin. The aspects of “rougelike” and “rougelite” games are becoming more commonplace these days for good reason. It prevents the monotony of playing a programmed piece of software over and over again. Gone are the days where players could just simply memorize where everything is, what to expect and where to go. Now, having another playthrough is a whole new adventure unto itself with everything being randomized and mixed up. Even though this concept isn’t entirely new (Resident Evil 2 for the Nintendo 64 did something similar back in the day) it’s a welcomed change of pace to the gaming industry. More developers are embracing this type of feature that definitely puts a new spin on things.
This is going to be a 2D action-platformer that will have a Metroidvania feel to it that is synonymous with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Blasphemous. This game has a gothic, whimsical charm that can only be compared to Shiny Entertainment’s early games like Earthworm Jim. There is not much of a color palette to feast your eyes on. Everything is richly black and white that is spiced up with sundry hues from magical powers and other animations. Players will control Death with tight-looking gameplay as he hacks and slashes his way through the various departments of his company. Of course, there will be upgradable moves in which can be combined through a branching tree of skills. There will be over 30 types of spells, weapons, and abilities to mix and experiment with. Even though Have a Nice Death is a “roguelite” game per se, it won’t necessarily have permadeath. Instead, Death will simply respawn back in his office, still holding some XP from his previous run.
There will be a “performance review” of the sort in which will always grant the player a new item or ability to use. The grading based on the review will most likely affect the chances of unlocking higher-tier loot. Therefore, with each subsequent run, Death gradually gets more and more powerful until he finally has the strength to smite the level’s boss to proceed. Thus, players won’t be lost on what to do and where to go, either. Death will have his assistant, Pump Quinn, constantly giving hints on what is going on throughout the company. This kind nudges players in the right direction and shaves away the annoyances of being stuck in a rut and wasting time.
The combat in Have a Nice Death is fundamentally straightforward but seems to be endlessly satisfying. A flurry of combos can be executed with a single button fairly easily. Death can strike from any angle and upgrade his basic attacks in terms of range, power, and speed. It is standard fare found in any other hack and slash game, but it works really well, here. There is also a host of heavy attacks which can crush enemies in rapid succession. Area clearing magic attacks, projectiles, and a giant hammer can all be utilized. These attacks come with a cooldown and magic meter, which naturally prevents any spamming and encourages tactical maneuvering. As of right now, enemies don’t really drop any useful items. Instead, they tend to drop gold pieces in which can be used to buy items and upgrades between runs.
The main kicker with Have a Nice Death is a fact that the skills tree is peppered with “curses” that come with some of the unlockable abilities. What this means is although some of the perks will continue to be enhanced, there will be a handicapped attached to it. Something like, “Obtain twenty percent more gold from each enemy, but ghosts will dish out ten percent more damage.” Things like that put in a new take on the standard skills tree that players have been grinding through for years. Along the way, Death will come across other NPCs that will help him out with providing other ways to fight that enable him to be more efficient in combat. There has already been early access to this game and the developers over at Magic Design Studios are very interactive with their community. They have been digesting all the feedback from players all over the world and are serious about hearing what they have to critic. Even though not all developers take the time to listen to their fans, it’s nice to see that the tides are turning with this generation.
A 2D action-adventure IP is always a welcomed addition to any gaming library. This genre used to be a dying breed of games that’s happily making a return in various forms. Have a Nice Death is heavily reminiscent of platformers of the 90s which have been sorely missed within the gaming community. Couple that with rougelite elements, then this is a recipe that can provide a copious amount of replayability. This title is scheduled to be released on March 2022 for the PC. It is currently not known if this game will be coming to consoles. Let us wait and see what the developers have in the pipeline with this game’s future. A game being a PC exclusive that ends up going to consoles isn’t exactly unheard of and, honestly, it is a perfect fit for it.