Death's Door

Death's Door Review

Ladies and gentlemen, this game is for the birds

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing an Xbox One on

Death's Door is rated Teen by the ESRB

If you've ever wanted to play a game as a soul-reaping crow then you'll definitely want to check out the cool new indie Death's Door.

Death's Door screenshot 1
Should I write that as your epitaph, Steadhone?

Death's Door has you play as Crow who, fittingly, is a crow. It's your job to harvest the souls of the dead but one day, a thief runs off with one of your souls so you pursue the dastardly nogoodnik to a bleak albeit humorous world that could use a little death. In this realm, there are a few god-like creatures that you must slay and in between the bosses, you'll explore a vast overworld that's filled with standard enemies to fight and simple puzzles to solve. You'll also meet plenty of NPCs who range from kindly chums to devious power-hungry tyrants. Meanwhile, the visuals are top-notch with plenty of memorable and detailed locations and the piano-fueled orchestral score provides a perfect backdrop. There is no voice acting but the sound effects are gratifying and really help flesh out the action.

Speaking of action, combat in Death's Door is basic stuff where you mash a button for melee attacks, dodge-roll out of harm's way, charge attacks, and hold a shoulder trigger to aim then shoot arrows or magic depending on what you currently have selected. For the most part, fighting enemies is easy-peasy although confronting new foes can result in taking damage because you don't know what sort of attacks they'll unleash so as long as you stay diligent and dodge-roll once an enemy telegraphs their next attack, you'll be set.

Plus, after playing for a couple of hours, you'll realise that enemies are incredibly stupid and easily-manipulated. They all seem to follow similar AI patterns so all you need to do is goad them, dodge, mash attack a few times, and repeat. In fact, I saw some enemies simply defeat themselves by jumping off ledges after charging at me and some even casually walked off as if they were Mr. Magoo. 👨‍🦯

Death's Door screenshot 2
I hope Seth Rogen plays this fellow in the DreamWorks adaptation

Although you'll spend the majority of your time exploring the lovely environments, Death's Door really shines brightest with its collection of unique bosses. They're each spectacularly imaginative, beautifully-rendered, and supremely memorable. I absolutely loved taking them down but with that in mind, I didn't find them to be challenging. Specifically, the only times I perished were during the exploration areas due to unexpected attacks and hazards while I found the bosses to actually be easier than exploring because they're very predictable and most are quite large targets so as long as you dodge-roll and attack whenever you get the chance, they'll go down fast.

To illustrate how unchallenging Death's Door is, it's one of those games where once you bite the dust, there isn't much consequence as you keep all of your stuff and even any progress you made remains intact. In other words, if you fail after making ladders appear, opening doors, and solving puzzles, you can simply run back to where you were while avoiding the enemies which can feel quite tedious, especially considering the fact that the previous checkpoint can be quite physically far away and some areas can be confusingly laid out.

I imagine that many gamers will enjoy exploring the world within Death's Door while trying to collect everything and there is quite a lot to collect from health and magic-extending pick-ups to trinkets. With that in mind, I found the areas to be far too large and vacant to be worth thoroughly exploring. When you couple that with the notion that I found the challenge to be on the easy side, I wasn't all that compelled to power-up in the end. Like I say; I don't speak for everyone and some gamers will genuinely love this aspect.

Death's Door screenshot 3
Oh, goodie; another drawn-out repetitive area to explore...

As a game reviewer, I assumed I was bad at games so how on earth did I find Death's Door to be an unchallenging and somewhat unsatisfying experience? Whatever the reason, it's still a good game and I enjoyed mercilessly slaughtering its unique bosses.

  • + Intuitive and tight controls with some nifty projectile abilities thrown in
  • + Spectacular visuals and audio
  • + Bosses are genuinely memorable
  • - General lack of challenge makes it a rather unsatisfying endeavour overall
  • - Most enemies behave quite stupidly
  • - Exploration often feels like a chore
7.4 out of 10
Gameplay video for Death's Door thumbnail
Gameplay video for Death's Door 12:24
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