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Death Coming

Death Coming - Early Access Impressions

It's time to do Death's bidding and set off traps in true Final Destination fashion.

  • Text: Bengt Lemne

There's a rather sinister plot hiding underneath the cookie cutter visuals and sweet design of Death Coming. As a recently deceased you're doing Death's bidding by triggering traps and murdering folks on a list to help save your own life, with plenty of collateral lives thrown in for good measure. It's a rather humorous isometric puzzle game where, in Final Destination fashion, your goal is to trigger things to set in motion "accidents". Some kills are straightforward, others include a few steps in order to come together, and some are dependent on your timing. Tampering with traffic lights or manholes, or heavy objects found in the environment, is part of the job, but soon enough you'll be putting schemes in motion to get key characters in or out of position to assist your own diabolical ends.

You'll also want to be quick to keep your multiplier going and try and off as many people as possible when you trigger the traps, and there are aliens and angels to consider too. In particular, the angels police your work and you'll need to avoid their sight cones if you want to go about your business and meet your death quota.

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Some of the "accidents" are more bizarre than others. We'll have to spoil one in order to give you an example, though. In the second map, you're tasked with killing the love interest of the director/dictator of a weapons factory. What you'll need to do is deface a statue of him to have the director leave his office, open the bookshelf pathway to the love den and have the secretary go in and talk to the seemingly interested mistress of the director. As he returns he'll order them killed by his guards. The fact that there's a somewhat pornographic wall picture in the love den and a heart-shaped bed makes for a rather bizarre scene. Nevermind, onto the next victim on the list.

The concept itself feels perfectly designed for touchscreen interaction, but playing it with a mouse is smooth as well. The one thing about the interface that sometimes annoyed is that when you first click an object you don't activate the trap and as you use the same trap over and over in some cases (like the traffic lights) it took a little getting used to the double-click.

The contrast between what you're actually doing and the visuals work to Death Coming's advantage. The music is also a major contributor here. It makes it a light-hearted little puzzle game with a morbid theme and it just works.

In a way, it reminds us of a more light-hearted and simplified version of Dungeon Keeper, where instead of designing traps you're interacting with what's already there to maximise your death count. We've already mentioned the visuals and how they marry well with the grim theme, but it should also be noted that there is a great attention to detail here and that you'll no doubt enjoy the various reactions of the characters that die or are faced with others dying.

Death Coming is launching in Early Access this week (November 6), but from the early levels we played it's already in a fairly polished state. The developers at Next Studios aim to use Early Access to test out some of the more open-ended puzzles (there's a mix of multi-step linear puzzles and more open-ended stuff) to gauge what players enjoy, but this is a case of a nearly finished game entering Early Access for some fine tuning and tweaks and you don't need to worry about it being particularly rough around the edges: it's enjoyable as it is. This might well be a game that you'll want to play for a bit every now and then, and we'd really like to see it release for tablets at some point as that feels like an even better home for it than your desktop.

Death Coming
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