Death Coming is a puzzle game where you, a recently deceased, help Death do his dirty work. Not only will you be leading scores of people to their demise, but you’ll do so by utilizing “death traps”–everyday objects that could possibly cause harm to befall you. The people you target cannot be controlled directly so timing, ingenuity, and a bit of elbow grease are key in escorting them to a better place. Other games like Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective have used this sort of hands-off method of affecting those in the world around you through a variety of mediums and I’m happy to report that Death Coming has an assortment of death traps to influence. Unfortunately, some shortcomings stop Death Coming from being the light-hearted romp into sadistic murders it aspires to be.
Death Coming is light in terms of story. After that initial introductory cutscene, your direction and exposition come in the form of Death popping in every so often to check your progress. Likewise, stages are framed by a brief cutscene that is meant to reveal the area’s theme and gimmicks. For example, the museum stage cutscene reveals to you the museum curator and the team attempting to commit a heist–both of which come into play when attempting to murder everyone on the premises. Aside from that, the only reason to murder in Death Coming is for your own sense of wicked glee when a perfectly executed plan comes together. Each stage has a three star rating scale, the highest of which means killing each and every person in the stage.
To do so, you’ll first need to figure out what death traps are available to you. Upon first click, any object that can be interacted with will react in some way. Flavour text is presented, some of which gives a hint as to the function of the object, but for the most part it’s to serve as comic relief or is too vague to give you any ideas. The first part of a level playthrough in Death Coming will likely consist of experimenting. After that, you’ll spend time observing your targets. In order to proceed to the next stage, you don’t actually need 3 stars, you just need one star for the lowest amount of people killed and to eliminate three marked targets.
Activating death traps is fun and, in a kind of twisted way, funny. Some will behave as you think they will–a giant globe, for example, will roll from its mounting and squish people–and others are more outlandish. Your pixelated targets scream and explode into way too much blood to be contained in such tiny frames. Timing is key here because targets will move around according to their scheduled routine and having a death trap miss its mark might spell trouble later on when you’re just one kill short of being able to continue to the next stage.
Inflicting death upon people is all fun and games until angels get involved. Upon reaching death milestones, these flying pests will appear, accompanied by fanfare, and they act as the police of Death Coming. If you have an object selected and it falls into their line of sight, denoted by a green cone that sweeps back and forth in the direction they’re facing, you’ll lose one of the hearts in the top left corner. Losing all three means automatically failing the stage, so watch your step! As you progress, more angels will rear their heads, making it challenging to literally get away with murder.
Most of my complaints about Death Coming have to do with the restart system. As mentioned, it sometimes takes a bit of experimenting to figure out how a death trap works in the first place–doubly so when you’re trying to work out timing. By that merit, it doesn’t seem fair to be punished with a load screen whenever it’s necessary to restart. It would also be nice to be able to restart from a check point rather than need to do over the whole level because of a timing mistake or the like. Unfortunately, this issue bogs down the experience as a whole and really begins to grate on the nerves once the scenes get bigger and there are more people to kill, ways to kill them–and consequently more ways to mess up. If the developer could make this system less punishing, I could easily recommend Death Coming. As it is, you’ll need a measure of patience if you’re attempting to kill em all.
If you’re the patient sort, Death Coming’s fiendish puzzles and amusing dialogue might be enough for you to forgive its tendency to punish mistakes. If you’re the sort who enjoys trying to get the best score and doesn’t mind a little repetition, this may be an inexpensive and worthwhile investment of your time. If you’re like me and you don’t particularly like being made to restart from scratch for the slightest mistake, Death Coming may not be for you.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Death Coming Review
Gameplay - 6/10
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Replay Value - 6/10
User Review( votes)
Death Coming’s fiendish puzzles and amusing dialogue might be enough for you to forgive its tendency to punish mistakes.
- Clever ways to kill your victims.
- Amusing and culturally relevant writing.
- Leaderboards offer some measure of replay value.
- For a game heavily reliant on experimenting, restart function seems punitive.
- Not possible to reload from a checkpoint.
- Repetitive gameplay loop made worse by restarting.
- Not always obvious how to proceed/easy to get stuck.
- No way to suspend and resume at a later time.