Within five minutes of starting Death’s Door I knew I was going to love it. The combat was basic but weighty. The visual presentation was sparse but bespoke. Its music, sometimes pastoral and serene, sometimes grim and despairing, made no secret that something special was going on, and my love for the indie action-RPG only continues to grow.
Currently out on PC and Xbox, people have been raving about Death’s Door and they are right to do so. There’s nothing shocking about its story or mechanics. What’s shocking is just how good it is at everything it does. The attention-to-detail is striking: for example, when you chop a wooden sign in half and then try to read it, the top part of the text will be missing. I loathe completionism in games, but this is one where after 10 hours I still want to hunt down every weird side collectible and story secret.
In Death’s Door, you play as a crow who’s part of a grim reaper bureaucracy tasked with collecting the souls of those passing on to the afterlife. There’s a conspiracy afoot, however. Soon, like X-Files’ agent Moulder, you’re off investigating witches’ mansions and swamp castles, trying to find missing comrades and capture powerful souls to uncover the truth behind the afterlife. The rest unfolds like a classic 2D Zelda that’s been stripped down and polished so that only the essentials are left—and they gleem so much, they’re practically glowing.