A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to play a preview build of Acid Nerve’s new title Death’s Door. The preview build was a fun action-adventure game with metroidvania and upgrade elements. I must have done something good in a former life. I got to review the full version! Death’s Door puts you in the shoes (do crows have shoes?) of an agent at the Reaping Commission. On a normal day going about your reaping, a soul you have been assigned gets stolen and it’s up to the player track it down.
Death’s Door controls with either the keyboard or a gamepad. With the keyboard you can control the direction of your attacks with the mouse. The gamepad attacks in the direction the player is facing. I preferred the control that the keyboard and mouse give, which is how I played the majority of the time.
Exploration is a must. Vitality and magic shards are hidden all over, providing health and magic capacity upgrades. There’s also shiny things (collectibles), combat trials to increase the effectiveness of your magic-based ranged weapons, and seeds. Seeds are very important as they can be planted in pots to replenish health.
I mentioned in the preview how impressed I was by the colours and music. This is continued through the rest of the game. Everything fits together so wonderfully. The Old Watchtower in the mountains feels cold and isolated, the Overgrown Ruins are lush and green and the Inner Furnace is harsh and industrial. I was amazed at how much attention to detail Death’s Door has. When playing with mouse and keyboard, the mouse cursor is a little bow and arrow and when it is over a reflective surface such as water, you can see its reflection.
The game doesn’t end with the defeat of the villain. Death’s Door continues, now with the ability change between night and day, opening up additional puzzles to work towards 100% completion and more lore. To help with that is the hub world of the Reaping Commission. As the player traverses the world you unlock doors. These act as checkpoints and fast travel points. In the end-game the doors on the Reaping Commission side glow with pink to let players know there’s still things to be found in that area, aiding completionists.
I enjoyed that the game didn’t have a map early game but when hunting for collectibles I really wanted one. It would have made looking for areas that had secrets a bit easier but not overly so. It also felt like the end game collectibles could have done with more of a challenge to finish. Exploration is its own reward though and working out the end game puzzles to unlock and collect everything is so much fun. Even without a map you get hints. Characters around the world will give you clues as to what you need to do to find things and the location of secrets themselves will be decorated in a way to let you know what you need to do.
I’m not sure why but every now and then my review copy of Death’s Door would lag considerably. Curiously it never happened in combat when all hell was breaking loose, just in general movement around the game so it didn’t affect what I was doing too much.
Overall Death’s Door is a very enjoyable game. I loved exploring the world, seeing something and coming back to explore more once I’d unlocked all the abilities. I was driven to find everything and with the exception of two skill upgrades (which would have required significant enemy grinding) I managed to find it all. I highly recommend picking up Death’s Door and giving it a go yourself when it launches on the July 20, 2021 on Steam and Xbox. This review utilised a Steam key provided by PowerUp PR.
Written by @Str8JaktJim