‘Felix the Reaper’ Review – A Match Made in Death: Dark Comedy, Dancing Skeletons, and Puzzles

Gentle and darkish, solar and shadow… the traditional metaphors for all times and loss of life. Besides, in Felix the Reaper ($3.99), they aren’t simply metaphors, they’re additionally the essential premise of the sport. Gamers will information Felix, a brand new area Reaper within the Ministry of Demise, as he orchestrates ever extra elaborate deaths, intent on impressing his lady-love within the Ministry of Life, Betty. The catch? The 2 might by no means meet—Felix should stay within the shadows, whereas Betty dances in sunlit meadows.

Felix the Reaper is a 3D puzzler within the model of Sokoban. Promising shadowy puzzles, comedy blacker than a metropolis sky at midnight, and a dancing reaper, there are quite a lot of locations it might fall brief. Sadly, fall brief it does… the place artwork, music, and animation are excessive factors, the gameplay itself leaves a lot to be desired.

Every chapter begins a bit of earlier than a personality’s well timed loss of life, and every degree therein we information Felix by shadows, shifting barrels right here, mirrors there, setting the stage simply so for the star of the present to fall. In fact, it wouldn’t be a recreation, not to mention a puzzle recreation, if all of the shadows simply aligned completely from the get-go. It’s a bit of extra work than that, and steadily requires shifting containers, barrels, bundles of wheat, mirrors, and different miscellaneous objects and beings to create a shadowy path to your vacation spot. Along with rearranging the setting, gamers even have a measure of management over the solar’s place, virtually in a type of time journey—though that may’t be solely correct, as a result of time is explicitly frozen whereas Felix is round. Regardless of the trigger, the thought is attention-grabbing, and relatively enjoyable to play with.

Though taking part in with shadows is an instantly attention-grabbing mechanic, all of the steps and juggling positions and going forwards and backwards and again… and forth once more can get relatively tedious, particularly should you’re by no means solely certain what to do (though that is considerably alleviated by the “subsequent step” button within the menu). It’s not an enormous deal within the early chapters, however by chapter 4… you’re actually beginning to really feel the tedium typically, and that’s with out going again to get three skulls, or taking part in the hardcore degree variants.

Properly, it’s a bit of a lot for me anyway, however for people who discover the essential puzzles a excellent, or perhaps a little simple, and who desire a little bit of a problem? Properly, you’re who the hardcore ranges are for. These ranges are barely altered, have the extra goal of gathering cash, and new limitations—particularly, gamers can not rewind to the final milestone, or restart the extent… and if you wish to return and do them later, you’ll must replay the bottom degree. And if that wasn’t sufficient of an additional problem, there are additionally “super-achiever”, time trials accessible from the extent menu for individuals who meet sure cranium necessities. Altogether, there are greater than sufficient ranges, at quite a lot of issue ranges (though none particularly simple), for a nice many individuals.

Felix the Reaper is a enjoyable recreation, however that’s not likely because of the gameplay. No, the gameplay itself is commonly simply there, whereas the enjoyment is primarily because of our dancing protagonist and his tunes. Watching Felix slide from one level to a different, dance in place, or bounce his approach into the televator is enjoyable, and one wonders what he’s listening to. Happily, we all know. In all probability. It isn’t precisely a stretch to imagine that the soundtrack we’re listening to is the exact same music our lovable reaper is dancing to. In that case, it’s not half dangerous. As background music, every of the 13 tracks ever so subtly alters the temper from whimsical, to pensive, to melancholy, to upbeat and pleased, and extra moreover, whereas at all times conserving to a sure lightheartedness. It’s virtually an ideal match. Nearly.

Why “virtually”, you ask? Properly, it’s a small, petty factor… however a few of—effectively, really, an ideal a lot of—the dancing animations don’t fairly line up with the music. That is virtually definitely as a result of they’re idle animations, and so troublesome to line up completely, however… I’ve spent a little bit of time watching them (it’s laborious to not, once you’re making an attempt to determine the place to place a selected puzzle piece goes), and it turns into obviously apparent fairly shortly that they aren’t synced as much as the music. A small factor, to make sure, however when your predominant character is meant to be dancing to the music you’re listening to, it’s annoying to see them not really in sync.

Transferring again to gameplay, bear in mind how I stated it was enjoyable to play with the shadows? I stand by that. It isn’t enjoyable, nonetheless, to always attempt to appropriate the digital camera angle. Neither is it enjoyable to faucet a sq. and never go there, or to try to drag an object to a sq. and both not have it register, or attempt to place the item on one other close by sq.. Every of those is annoying individually, however altogether, they’re actually fairly a ache. Add within the motion and transfer limits, and the clock, and among the later ranges actually begin to not be very enjoyable.

That’s not all, although. A part of Felix the Reaper’s enchantment is the ridiculously excessive methods every character dies. Deaths like by chance spearing your brother since you mistook him for a deer; or a canine chasing an additional crispy tenderloin down a effectively, dragging the blind madman down with him. Haha, Oops. Possibly it’s the gory, shut up photographs of every loss of life, or possibly it’s that every character is extra unhappy than comedic… however I actually don’t see the humour. Which is a disgrace, as a result of I got here in anticipating to essentially get pleasure from these, and… I’m not.

Proper from the beginning Felix the Reaper makes three guarantees: There will probably be darkish comedy, there will probably be shadow puzzles, and there will probably be dancing skeletons. It delivers on all three. The humour is black, the puzzles are attention-grabbing, and Felix’s dance strikes are wonderful, if considerably mistimed. That is clearly a labour of affection, and that love reveals by clearly. Sadly, it was not evenly distributed, and the tough patches make themselves recognized relatively shortly. However, I’d encourage you, oh reader mine, to provide it a shot. Watch some gameplay, learn just a few opinions—it may very well be simply the sport for you!


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