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The deeper I dig into roguelike Have a Nice Death, the less value I find

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part of the magic the devil Wears Prada How deftly the film walks between excoriating the soul-sucking work culture and creating empathy for the people inside it. Intern Andy Sachs struggles against Miranda Priestley’s authoritarian clutches at a fashion magazine, only to find herself more and more like Priestley. The film shows how powerful a ruthless boss can be.

new badass have a good death Delving into similar ideas with critiques of work culture and burnout – but instead of portraying a ruthless boss with a fair amount of criticism, the game ends in unearned sympathy for an overworked CEO.

The protagonist of developer Magic Design Studios is Death, the founder of Death Inc. He created crews to help collect the dead, but these crews turned rogue and began to wreak havoc on his industry of ending lives.

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Death uses an area-of-effect attack in Have a Nice Death.

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Image: Magic Design Studio / Gearbox Publishing

You take charge of death at this crucial moment. Armed with a trusty scythe, cloak and book with the names of the dead, Death has to work his way through his complex workplace to deal with his wayward servants, fighting them, defeating them and whipping them back into shape.

Death’s headquarters is beautiful. The procedurally generated 2D dungeons look like they were pulled straight out of a Disney movie (the game often feels like a playable Pixar short). Animations unfold in a crisp, moody noir highlighted by minimal splashes of color.

The fighting mechanics glow neon as curses and slashes and projectiles paint across the dull gray landscape. Mechanically, the game is a joy to play. Combat is slick and responsive, not the opposite dead cells (whose lead designer “worked closely” with Magic Design), but feels more like hack-and-slash. The Death Cloak can transform into additional weapons like a giant hammer or a cloud of poison. I enjoyed mixing a curse with a tough melee weapon. Weapons are easy to unlock and the available storage slots in your inventory make it easy to switch combat styles in the middle of a run – the act of building up to speed in early runs is satisfying, rewarding and exciting.

There are currently seven worlds (with another planned for the game’s full 1.0 release on March 22), each with its own boss called Sorrow, which includes Waldo, a big guy from the toxic-food processing department— Confronting killer spider included. and Major Warren Pliskhan, an overzealous war general and head of the Department of Modern Warfare, among others. The levels can get tedious, with each biome only having three or four main enemy types on average, but the enticingly designed main boss battles keep it challenging on each run.

talks to the staff and vendors at Save Space in Death Have a Nice Death

Image: Magic Design Studio / Gearbox Publishing

Throughout your run, which, like any roguelike, knocks you back to the beginning when you die (although it’s not clear to me how death itself dies?), You will face a variety of afflictions. they are stand-ins for the global forces that cause destruction and end lives, and have received Very Producing (read: killing) people in “processing”. As a result, Death has to visit each of his employees, and he argues with them about the quality of their work before you try to beat them to a pulp.

Roguelikes are useful opportunities to ask questions about burnout, work culture, and even labor organizing. going under, hitman world of assassinationof freelancer mode, and even Hades Frame your respective workplaces as endless loops where evil thrives.

But where have a good death What makes roguelikes different from these other platforms is also where it suffers. Instead of creating sympathy for labor by playing as an intern in the dungeon of failed startups, or as the son and housecleaner for the lord of the underworld, you play as management.

Keeping his focus on Death, without any questioning of his role in Death Inc. have a good death, intentionally or not, frames the CEO as a sympathetic figure. And in some ways, he is—he’s grumpy but charming. But in his role as an overseer and exploiter of the workers, it is hard to wish him well as he yells at his employees.

There is a version of the game where Death recognizes his, and his company’s, exploitative practices, and thus, tongue-in-cheek jokes are scattered across the land as he comes to grips with the pain and stress he causes. But in its current state, have a good death doesn’t strike that balance.

Death in Have a Nice Death uses a laser-focused dash

Image: Magic Design Studio / Gearbox Publishing

The macabre humor is initially charming, but soon W.W. Things turn sour when you meet minibosses like Hung (a noose) or Soro Maxx (an avatar for an addict with a syringe coming out of the back). I shook my head in dismay when I encountered Sorrow Christina Imamura, an orientalist geisha standing up for natural disasters, and disbelief turned to anger when an animation of a nuclear bomb followed the war. I actively avoided the branching paths that led me to these bosses.

What often brings me back to a good roguelike is failed run after failed run, a careful mix of mechanical improvements and narrative progression. The development of the protagonist’s (and the player’s) skill set is important as well, along with a gradual tilt in the character’s story arc.

In have a good deathHowever, further exploration only diminished my appreciation for the game. The beautiful world and tough combat were tempting in the beginning – but the more I thought about the story and world, the less I wanted to keep playing.

Admittedly there will be a narrative conclusion that begins with the game’s full release when Death is presumably causing disturbances and turmoil in Death Inc., but I’m pessimistic that new content can make up for existing diminishing gameplay satisfaction. , And even more pessimistic that it would be able to tie a neat bow on such a messy story.

The game itself is beautiful and the combat mechanics sound great, but the deeper I dig have a good deathI get as little value as possible.

have a good death Will release on March 22 on Nintendo Switch and Windows PC. The game was reviewed on PC using a pre-release download code provided by Gearbox Publishing. Vox Media is an affiliated partnership. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Additional information about Play Gamez’s ethics policy here,

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