Death’s Door — I Don’t Get Today’s Games

You play as a crow with a sword

Indies are a real treat; you know that? They are either good or terrible, unlike AAA games which, in addition to these two qualities, can also come in a moderate quality. But see, because they are not supervised by business-focused investors, as in how they do with AAA games, indie developers can do anything they want with their game because, in this scenario, there are no big shots calling the shots. However, more freedom of choice does mean a smaller budget. But sometimes, you come across an indie game so weird that you question the developer’s sanity, many of which are there. This… is not one of them. I suppose it’s just me, but Death’s Door does make me wonder what people today consider art.

From what little I understood from my experience of Death’s Door, the game has the player take the role of a bipedal crow that works for some kind of reaping agency which is in charge of managing the dead, I think? Frankly, I’m not sure; I just thought it would be fun to play, considering the good reviews it received. However, an isometric platformer with an intriguing narrative isn’t exactly my cup of tea. They did that kind of thing often, and nowadays, I just want something easy to pass the time. Maybe if it came out a decade ago, I would’ve given it more time and thought, but it’s the future, and nobody has any of that today (I know, the future’s terrible).

In truth, I wanted to try out this game because it’s from the creators of Titan Souls, a game where you only fight bosses, so I thought Death’s Door would also be a boss rush game. It turns out it wasn’t, so I’m somewhat bummed in that regard. I guess maybe I expect too much from today’s games.

Expectations are either too high or aim at something completely different

Indies are often renowned for their distinct art style, often styled around retro culture. But at their core, indie games are still video games, and gameplay-wise, all games are the same in that you have a main character that you control. There’s a start screen and virtually anything else you can identify in every video game you ever played, yada yada yada. All video games are the same… but different.

And this is where indies shine; they are different, and that’s how they stand out. But once you’ve realised that it’s just a rinse-and-repeat formula, the distinct art style kind of gets old and loses its magic quickly, and it doesn’t matter how many pixel graphic styles you incorporate into your homage to point-and-click adventure games from the 80s. It’s still a game, even when it pretends to be an art painting.

I’m saying that developers should experiment with different genres and playstyles instead of constantly relying on the satisfying-yet-repetitive formula, “a good game on a small budget”. Indie developers should take the opportunity of freedom to explore their creative freedom and do something more than just an art style. It would have to be something along the lines of a game that represents the beginning of a new genre. In the AAA industry, this is virtually impossible because the people who call the shots see video games as nothing more than means of making money, which is not the case in the indie scene (mostly). But the indie developers don’t seem to realise they have the power, and most of that power is unexplored. The possibilities to explore are what I’m going to examine today… or at least try to, which is good enough.

What new genres can the indie scene invent?

Let me just start by saying that I have, right now, no examples for a revolutionary indie game. I suppose I would say something like Undertale, but I haven’t played the game, so I can’t. But if I had to say, I would probably say Mushroom 11 because that game was awesome but probably not as revolutionary as you might think. Still, I’m sure there’s a better example out there… I just need to find it.

I suppose the most innovative indie game I can think of is Scribblenauts, but even that lost face over time is almost forgotten nowadays. The concept might’ve been new at the time of the announcement, but even the game itself fell short of expectation with how awkward the controls were. I know because I played the game when it came out. I’ll talk more about Scribblenauts in a different article.

But seriously, if I were an indie developer in charge of inventing a new genre, I’d have good friends help me brainstorm and decide the future of indie games. Who knows what could happen in such a scenario. I would do it myself, but if it’s me, it would have to be an AAA game, not an indie one. So… I can’t.

What did you think of the crow with the sword?

I’m sorry I didn’t invest the time in brainstorming on an indie genre as to how I do all the time. It’s just that a new indie genre would require a unique thought pattern, something that I am not, and that is why I can’t do it. In any case, be sure to leave your thoughts about Death’s Door and how it impressed you (I almost forgot that it’s the topic of this article).

In Conclusion…

So… Death’s Door? It’s… not for me, and frankly, that’s all I can say right now. I know that the majority disagrees with me in that regard, so play it or don’t, I don’t care (maybe the next game will be more interesting).

And yes, today’s games are weird, not just indie ones, but from the big leagues. I’d have to start a new article to examine how weird today’s games are. I don’t know when that’ll happen since it’s not even in the planning. But maybe someday?

I didn’t like the game… end of story…

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