Located in Montpellier, France, Magic Design Studios brings a darkly-charming, hand-drawn, 2-D action rogue like game Have A Nice Death. Have A Nice Death is available to buy now on PC and Switch for £21.99.
Will you join Death Inc?
You assume the role of Death, the founder and CEO of Death Incorporated. Death is in the midst of burnout due to his workers going rogue. They have taken it upon themselves to break company policy and it is your job to get the employees back in line. You must do this by showing them who is the boss.
In order to gain control, Death must plough its way through 7 departments. These departments are full of workers ready to make a stand, happily attacking Death to prove this. Each department has a department head, who you must beat to continue to the next floor. Of course, the departments progressively get harder, with myself struggling throughout. However, the biggest struggle of all comes in department 7, where Death will have to defeat the biggest boss of it all. Although the game does progressively get harder, it should also balance itself out. This is because you will continue throughout to acquire new weapons and upgrade old ones.
As Death, you are given a three-weapon cycle. Firstly, there is of course Death’s trusty Scythe, which he will never be seen without. The Scythe is not an option, as it isn’t for Death in real life. In addition to this, there is the choice of two slots. This can be for weapons, which there is a vast amount to chose from, or spells. Death also harnesses a special attack, which can be used when the special metre is full. It offers an explosive amount of damage, perfect for those boss battles. It can be a struggle to pick which weapon you will want to go with because there is a serious arsenal.
So many choices!
In order to choose from the vast amount of weapons, you will have to collect the in-game currency known as ingots. Found throughout the game, Ingots are gifted to you through the performance score. You can contribute to your performance score by killing your workers or using certain weapons. The performance score can be viewed when you “die”. Because of the rogue likeness of the game, Death does not actually die, but he does “die”. The positive thing about this is that although you do die, your progress carries. You may have to start at the beginning, but you carry experience and money over. This in turn contributes to better weapons and curses. Another way to earn curses is through the use of HR employees. They provide curses which enhances Death’s skills, again making it easier when you are starting on the departments.
The movement of Death is flawless, especially in his attacking movements. The vast amount of choice of weapons means there are loads of different combos which can be used, and these are done effortlessly. Although seen as a “boring” weapon, the Scythe was one of my favourites. The action and movements using the Scythe were effortless and clean, and I would use it most often. It can be argued that I did use the special attack more because it was extremely helpful in the boss battles.
Graphics & Audio
The Switch is the perfect place for these types of games. You are able to pick up and play easily when you have a spare minute or two. I genuinely thought the design of the game was amazing, especially considering it is hand-drawn as stated. The black and whiteness of the game add to the overall feel of the game, and as Death most likely intended. There is however a contract in colour when defeating certain enemies. These enemies drop bonus which are a burst of colour in darkness, the perfect contrast.
There was a small issue I came across, this being slow loading times between departments. Perhaps I am being too harsh, considering I mostly play PS5. However, on some loading points, the screen would become stuck for a short amount of time. It was enough time to make me wonder if I needed to restart the game or not. This is a very minor issue, but it did happen often enough for me to take notice.
Will Death win?
I found the soundtrack to match well with what I expected of Death. The music that accompanied Death’s journey was fitting what you would think Death’s soundtrack to be. It matched incredibly well with the movement, as the audio was effortless when it came to the sound effects of hitting enemies. This was particularly noticeable when using the Scythe. Where I found the sound of metal clanging to be quite calming.
There are no audio actors used within this game, and I do not think it particularly needs them. The creators have added noise for when Death is speaking and NCP which I feel represents a person nagging. You have to hear it to see it. This was humorous, and it didn’t just leave the soundtrack to do the talking. The NCPs themselves were oddly humourous, with both NCPs and Death making plenty of dark-humour jokes.
I think the longevity of the game will depend on your style of play, as well as how good you are at the game. In no way is this game easy. There will be plenty of times that the player will become frustrated, however, in a way which is entertaining, struggling through it to say that you have beaten that level. The game will roughly take 10+ hours, which is around the amount of time it took me to complete. Although there was struggling from me.
When I first saw Have A Nice Death I will be honest and say I did have high expectations, as it was something I thought I would enjoy a lot. The humour was the sarcastic type of humour that I love and often use myself, the movement was flawless as I enjoyed showing off all the different combos I had learnt with different weapons. I honestly think Have A Nice Death has exceeded all the expectations I had for the game, and I believe that anyone who plays this will walk away feeling happy that they had purchased the game. I would defiantly recommend it to anyone who asks.
It is with all this in mind, I will be awarding Have A Nice Death with a Thumb Culture Gold Award
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.