REVIEW: ‘Death’s Door’ Brings a New Meaning to a Murder of Crows… (Xbox One)

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Deaths Door

Reaping souls is honest work for a Crow. But what happens when your assigned soul is stolen? Well, you’ll have to track down the thief, of course. Death’s Door is a top-down, action-adventure game developed by Acid Nerve and published by Devolver Digital.

In Death’s Door, you play as a sword-wielding Crow whose job is to reap souls. To do so, you’ll have to travel to the mortal realm through Doors. When you cross the threshold, you’re turned mortal for as long as your assigned soul remains at large. So, when that soul is stolen, you need to track down the thief, or you’ll be mortal forever (or until you die). However, upon finding the thief, you realize you’re even more in over your head than you thought. Your soul is behind Death’s Door, a door that takes an immeasurable number of souls to open. Better get reaping.

Death’s Door is full of quirky characters and dark comedy. There are unexpected laughs around every corner. And yet the game is full of heart, filled with as many cute moments as somber. You’ll track down and defeat tyrants that have their own backstories and motivations and who will make you question your own motives. And while you won’t have any choice but to strike them down, the secrets you’ll uncover about the role of the Crows and the origins of the Doors is so tantalizing that it’ll keep you trudging on.

Death's Door

The simplistic graphics style reminds me of games like Ashen, Chronos: Before the Ashes, and RiME. But simple isn’t bad. Death’s Door is so visually charming; every level brings new visual elements that breathe life into the story. From the vibrant leaves of an estate in fall to a basement filled with rocks, pipes, roaring boilers, and glowing tubes, the mortal world is filled with so much color. This acts as a sharp contrast with the immortal land of the Crows, which offers cool floating platforms, but its grayscale color palette sucks the life out of the world, much like the Crows themselves.

Death’s Door instantaneously feels like a classic Zelda dungeon-delving game. You’ll explore various levels, all with twists, turns, and puzzles. Open numerous Doors along the way that act as checkpoints and a quick way to get back to your immortal world to level up.  Exploring is your friend. Stumble upon secrets, hidden bosses, and mysterious items while battling numerous enemies. The world is vast, and you’ll explore so many different levels that are wonderfully unique and bring with them very different enemies and bosses.

Visually and mechanically, the enemies are vast. From close to long-range attacks, magic-wielders, living pots, and even sludge monsters, each level has its own set of enemies, and it’s great fun learning how to overcome each one. Each boss you encounter is different from the last, keeping you on your toes. But while diverse, rarely will you encounter a true challenge. Death’s Door is rarely punishing. Sure, if you die, all enemies respawn, and you’ll have to retrace your steps from the last Door you opened. But any puzzles you’ve completed and locked doors you open will not reset, and it’s fairly easy to simply run through all the respawned enemies.

Death's Door

Crow has a handful of weapons at their disposal: a sword with a heavy and light attack, a bow, and magic. The button layout is simplistic and easy to get the hang of. Your character stats can be increased by using souls, so the more enemies you slay, the more powerful you get. Complete challenges, and you’ll likely be awarded an upgrade or new ability that will not only help you during battles but also help in puzzle-solving. Therefore, new abilities have the chance to grant you access to new sections of each level. So even when you think you’ve explored everything, there’s still more to discover.

While Crow is generally easy to command, there are times where they become eclipsed by objects, enemies, or structures due to the angled top-down view. For the most part, Crow shows up as a grayed-out shape when this happens, but seeing this isn’t always as helpful as it should be. There’s still plenty of times where you’ll get caught on things, and it’s particularly frustrating—and harmful to your health—when you get caught on an enemy.

Though a short game, there has been so much thought put into Death’s Door. Even Crow’s smallest of movements are so cute and bird-like. I wish there was more because ten hours just isn’t enough! The humor is splendid, and the mysteries waiting to be uncovered are so tantalizing.

Death’s Door is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and PC.

Death's Door
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Though a short game, there has been so much thought put into Death’s Door. Even Crow’s smallest of movements are so cute and bird-like. I wish there was more because ten hours just isn’t enough! The humor is splendid, and the mysteries waiting to be uncovered are so tantalizing.