HomeReviews4.5/5 ReviewHave a Nice Death Review

Have a Nice Death Review

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Anyone who works has at one point or another been faced with stress. Irate customers, looming deadlines, and being understaffed are just a few causes. This is especially true of anyone who was working over the last few years. Any mortal person is capable of dealing with stress and burnout.

But can Death itself suffer from burnout?

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Will you Have a Nice Death?

Because Have a Nice Death surely seems to think so. After countless years of bringing souls to the afterlife, death has fallen into a rut. The same thing, day in and day out, has led him to become tired of the entire process. That’s when he had the idea to create Death Inc. A conglomerate that excels in bringing souls to the afterlife.

Death instated the Sorrows, beings that represent a major cause of death, to oversee the appropriate department. However, over time death became overburdened with paperwork and administrative tasks to the point where he was no longer able to keep the Sorrows in check. The Sorrows on the other hand, have become greedy and have chosen to overshoot quotas in the pursuit of higher profit. This has lead to all of Death Inc becoming severely overworked.

Thus, Death has no choice but to pick up his scythe once more, and put the Sorrows and their minions back in line.

Have a Nice Death is a challenging roguelike that sees you fighting through the different departments of Death Inc. Scattered throughout are the minions of the sorrows, as well as their Thanagers; mini-bosses in charge of their own sub-department.

These mini-bosses can be incredibly hard and making a misstep during their fight can ruin an otherwise great run. The trade-off is that defeating them gives you a curse upgrade. In most games that would be a reason to avoid them, but curses in Have a Nice Death are boons to Death’s powers. These curses can infuse your attacks with status effects, increase your damage, and improve your magic ability prowess.

As you stack these abilities they become stronger, but you also start taking on risks. Some curses will be labeled that they come with a penalty, and choosing it will lead you to also choose a penalty.

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Get swiping as Death

I actively avoided the penalties at first, but as I got further along, I decided to play a little riskier and start choosing curses with penalties. Some penalties will affect the entire run, others change the behavior and abilities of specific enemies. What I liked about the penalty system is that you have a choice between penalties. Even if both choices are bad, it gives the player some control over how they continue with the run. After all, no one wants to spend twenty minutes playing just to get stopped by a random debuff.

That’s especially true when a game is as challenging as Have a Nice Death. Much of the challenge comes from a lack of iFrames, or invincibility frames. As the name implies, these are the frames after taking damage where you are immune to damage. Most games give you a few of these to avoid going from 100% health to zero when you fail to get out of the way of a sustained attack.

Have a Nice Death does not offer any.

Well, technically there is a curse that you can get that does give you this ability, so it’s not completely absent from the game. That being said, it definitely can catch you off guard how quickly you can die if you find yourself in a sustained attack by either a boss or even some of the regular enemies. At least I was.

On one hand, you can say that the lack of iFrames is a suitable metaphor for the greed of the Sorrows. Like the Sorrows who are driven by their greed and desire for record profits, which ultimately leads to their downfall at the hands of death, being greedy in combat can lead to your own downfall. Of course, it is entirely plausible that I am reading too much into things and the developer just wanted to make their game harder. Let’s be honest, it’s probably the latter.

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Have a Nice Death comes with plenty of personality

There are respites from the danger though. A shop occurs in each stage where you can purchase weapons, curses, and more, as well as a specialty room called the control room where you can upgrade your weapons and abilities.

And what corporate office would be complete without a run-down break room for gossip and coffee? Or koffee as they say.

Here you will find many of the employees of Death Inc chatting, having contests, and complaining about the day to day of work. These characters will chat with you at the beginning of each run, and periodically they will make an appearance as you fight your way through their coworkers.

There is a lot of personality in Have a Nice Death. The animation is fluid and the character and sound design are phenomenal. It is a challenging game that doesn’t forgive mistakes, so it won’t be fun for those looking for a casual game. But if you like a roguelike that will push you to the edge, Have a Nice Death is a welcome addition to your game library.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Great art style
  • Fun story and unique characters
  • Fluid combat and great challenge
Cons:
  • Lack of iFrames
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Gearbox
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 5 December 2023 | £20.99
Ryan Taylor
Ryan Taylor
Grew up playing the Nintendo 64 where I fell in love with the Legend of Zelda series. As I got older though my console of choice changed, first to PS2, and then finally to the Xbox 360, which I've been playing on for over a decade now. And since my first day booting up my Xbox, I've upgraded consoles and even built a gaming PC. Because at the end of the day I just love gaming.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Great art style</li> <li>Fun story and unique characters</li> <li>Fluid combat and great challenge</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Lack of iFrames</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Gearbox</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 5 December 2023 | £20.99</li> </ul>Have a Nice Death Review
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