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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The narrative offers a whimsical take on death, turning the grim reaper into a strange kind of mildly bureaucratic vocation. Play encourages and rewards perseverance and lateral thinking.
Positive Role Models
The hero -- a silent crow -- is a newly minted soul reaper, and seems to take its job seriously. This involves attacking, destroying, harvesting the souls of many monsters along the way. The crow appears to neither hate nor enjoy its work.
Ease of Play
Controls are simple and explained as needed via text pop-ups within the game. Combat can be a bit tricky when facing new enemies and bosses, and requires a bit of practice and persistence. Puzzles can generally be solved by looking for nearby clues and using common sense.
Violence & Scariness
The crow uses melee weapons (e.g., sword, dagger, umbrella), a bow, and magic spells to attack many monsters, including batlike creatures and spectral magicians. Enemies collapse when defeated, with splashes of red blood forming little puddles that remain on the ground.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Death's Door is a downloadable action/adventure game for Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S and Windows PCs. It has a witty yet slightly macabre vibe, with players taking on the role of a grim reaper (who appears as a crow) on a mission to harvest a soul in a realm filled with imaginative but aggressive monsters. It features lighthearted jokes about death, such as a seemingly immortal creature who's patiently waiting to be reaped and offers suggestions on how the crow might try to kill him. Action is presented from a raised perspective, with players looking down on a maze-like world filled with minions, obstacles, and various collectibles. Combat is cartoonish, but also fast and frequent. The crow uses a sword, bow and arrows, and magical abilities to attack creatures that often leave behind little puddles of red blood as they become injured and die. Beyond the combat and occasionally grim themes, there's little in the way of iffy content.
Is It Any Good?
Assuming the notion of taking on the role of a reaper of souls doesn't unsettle you too much, this little action role-playing game (RPG) spiced with just a tinge of dark whimsy is bound to please. Death's Door has an oddly welcoming aesthetic, thanks to its gently cartoonish presentation, easy-to-grasp controls, and quirky sense of humor (have you played another game with a character whose head is a pot of soup from which he eagerly offers servings?). Its tale, filled with light intrigue and occasional twists, may lack a chatty hero, but what our "crow"tagonist lacks in speech it makes up for in visual panache -- love those yellow glowing eyes -- and calm assuredness as it goes about its business confidently and without complaint, even when the going gets weird, which is often.
And it's a pleasure to play. Combat isn't too challenging, but it does demand an element of strategy as you choose whether to attack at close or long range, use weapons to deflect incoming orbs of energy back at enemies, and patiently dodge attacks to tire the baddies and wait for openings. The puzzles, meanwhile, are just tricky enough to stump players for a minute or two before they work things out. If it takes longer than that, then you know you probably don't have the right ability yet -- like, say, a fire spell to light flammable objects when no other sources of fire are near. A map would've been handy to help find the way in some of the game's more twisty environments, and backtracking can be a bit tedious since there's no "run" ability, but at least one of the crow's upgradable attributes is speed. Death's Door is a deftly made delight full of flamboyance and surprises. Fans of eccentric indie RPGs won't be disappointed.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.