Peace, Death! is a new game made by a Russian game studio called AZAMATIKA. It’s an arcade simulator that puts you in the role of a reaper working for your boss: Death. You’re just a lowly reaper who must work to bring home the bacon. Welcome to your job at Apocalypse, Inc.!
I originally went into this thinking it would be similar to Papers, Please, which was a game I loved. In a way, Peace, Death! was in a similar vein but watered down in the sense that it has less aspects for you to manage. It’s easy to pick up, and its mechanics are pretty simple. But it does ramp up in difficulty as you’re given more and more details to care for as the game progresses.
Each day that you go to work as a reaper, you have to process people who come to the gates of hell. You’ll either have to send them straight to hell or to heaven. It starts off being pretty simple: if they look like a red Satan-like creature, to hell they go. If they’re human-esque, they’re allowed into heaven. On day two, you’re required to pay more attention to your client’s features since some humans have red horns. You, unfortunately, will have to send them to hell.
The difficulty ramps up since eventually you can’t just look at your client before making your decision. Sometimes, they conceal horns under hats. Sometimes, they’re carrying a weapon or have a telltale puddle of blood below their feet signalling their sins. Then the game opens up a third place for you to send people: purgatory. It’s a place for people who are willing to renounce their sins and therefore will be spared from the horrors of hell. You’ll have to click on the blood stains on them to see if it disappears—if it does, they’re sent to purgatory instead of hell. These are just some of the many features you’ll have to be aware of as you advance in the game.
As you finish your shift each day, you’ll get skulls—which seems to be the currency of the game. Well, one of the currencies. Death isn’t the sole boss at Apocalypse Inc. It’s also ruled by the three other horsemen of the apocalypse. You’re given situations where you can help the people on Earth avoid certain events such as a war. Avoiding it will gain you favor with a certain horsemen, whereas letting it happen will gain you favor with War, for example, but lose you favor with Death. You must have enough skulls to help you avoid an event, so at times, you may piss off your manager-in-charge just because you’re broke.
As you get burdened with more and more features to look out for in your clients, you can purchase things that will help you through a level such as having to deal with one less feature during that day. Of course, these all costs skulls, so I tried my best not to buy any of these level upgrades.
The ending you’ll get varies depending on how your game went, so there’s chances for replayability. I don’t think I personally will go through all those levels again, since although more challenges are thrown at you continually, it does get a teensy bit repetitive. But I think a lot of the new features that you must overcome are pretty unique and creative—props to the devs!
If you wanted easter eggs in a game, you won’t find a shortage of them in Peace, Death! From Overwatch and DOOM references, to Terminator and Lord of the Rings ones, and even to Einstein, there’s a lot of different people you’ll have to process at your desk. I appreciated that if you send certain people from the same franchise into heaven or hell together, they mention a line after you’re done that level as a nod to that!
I had an enjoyable time being the gatekeeper of heaven and hell in Peace, Death! It’s definitely easier to progress through than say, Papers, Please, which makes me want to say it’s more suitable for kids who want to try out a game of this genre. But at the same time, you get pretty weird clients as you work your job as the reaper—some of which may not be children friendly. I also had some issues understanding the instructions and the story in between levels—I believe things got lost in translation between the Russian and the English version of the game? It wasn’t too bad at first, but here and there, I’d miss out on key instructions which would leave me a little confused until I worked it out myself during the levels.
Overall, Peace, Death! was an interesting game for sure.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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