Deaths Door put to the test: challenging indie adventure with a crow

Deaths Door put to the test: challenging indie adventure with a crow

Deaths Door put to the test

Crows are commonly known to be not only very smart, but also mischievous. Just think of Canuck, a cheeky poultry who is said to have stolen a knife from a crime scene in 2016 and then became famous. Less kleptomaniacal, but just as well armed, is the crow in the indie adventure Death's Door from developer Acid Nerve.

As a little crow, we tore our way through the area numerous times and tell you what the cute death omen is capable of is and how much fun it is to harvest souls.

Table of contents

1 Omen of death 2 How won ... 3 Crow with knife 4 Death greets every day 5 Breather 6 Only ceramics in the head 05:40

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Omen of Death

The office of the Harvest Commission is already very gloomy, so our lightsaber really stands out. Source: PC Games Well, in the game we wield a sword and not a knife like Canuck. But we're not a normal crow, after all. We are a reaper who makes a living collecting souls.

More precisely, we work for the Harvest Commission, a company in a gray in-between world in the middle of nowhere. From here countless doors lead to strange places where souls are. We do not find out whether the places belong to the same world or to different worlds. As a little employee crow, we probably don't have to care. The main thing is that we harvest souls. And so begins the next day on the hamster wheel: Earning souls in order to drive doors that in turn lead to new souls.

When we take the job, we don't know yet that everything will take a little longer. Source: PC Games As soon as a reaper steps through one of these doors, he begins to age and can even die. A nice employee of the company makes this clear to us even before our first real mission - including a dramatic camera shot. He also asks us not to give up the spoon, as he has no interest in the resulting paperwork. Well, he will still be surprised.

But then we will start our assignment! First, in a kind of tutorial, we get the basic controls by hand. Then we can use what we have learned directly in our first boss fight against a demonic plant. The fight, depending on how well we do, goes on quite quickly and doesn't pose any major problems. With this big soul, we can now afford something really nice and go on vacation first, right?

In our first boss fight we are faced with a demonic plant. But the reward for doing so sounds promising! Source: PC Games

How won ...

There are so many strange characters cavorting in the cemetery and most of them want to attack us. Source: PC Games ... so melted away. Before we can do anything with our reward, an elderly crow knocks us out. When we wake up again, we are sitting in front of a white portal, battered and without any reward. Through this we come to an old, abandoned cemetery, where loads of mysterious creatures cavort, from fluffy but vicious vampire bats to strange creatures with towers instead of skulls.

After we have combed the area, meet we suddenly spot the crow that stole from us. It turns out that she is also a reaper and has been trying to complete her assignment for an unknown time. For this she wanted to use our hard-won soul to supply and open the door with energy, behind which her soul sits. But that wasn't enough and both the old reaper and we are in a mess. Because the rules of the commission say: Only when the soul has been brought back is an order completed and one can return home.

If we fail to do this, we cannot stop our aging process and will eventually die. And that doesn't seem to be intended for Reaper Crows. The way to our goal is anything but easy: We have to collect three very powerful souls from extravagant and very ancient beings. Each of them rules their own empire, which is connected to the cemetery. Only these souls have enough strength to open the door of death. The giant soul we coveted is supposedly hiding behind this. But what else is waiting for intruders behind the mysterious gate, not even the old crow can tell us. With no other choice, however, we must go to save ourselves and the old reaper. In the process, we quickly find out from the accumulating clues that the superiors in the harvest commission could somehow be involved in the incidents.

At the door of death we learn from an old crow how we are getting back to our previous life can return. Source: PC Games

Crow with knife

Our fighting skills are quite clear at the beginning. We have a sword strike, a heavy blow, an arrow shot and an evasive role. Our bow also only has four shots, which we can fill up by using close combat skills. All of that doesn't necessarily sound like a lot of fighting power. So that we have a chance against all the strange beings, we have to improve - not just playfully.

Over time, we get new skills and spells. But we can only shoot with fire after our encounter with the urn witch. Source: PC Games If we kill an opponent, we get soul energy with which we can improve the properties of our nameless crow. So we can put points in strength to hit harder or spend them on dexterity to dodge more often and faster. The upgrades become more expensive with higher levels and we only get additional abilities like the fire spell after certain boss fights.

Our first new item! The umbrella looks good, but does not help much in a fight. Source: PC Games By the way, we don't just have to be content with the sword. While playing, we collect additional weapons such as double daggers or an umbrella. The latter can be found in the door hall at the beginning of the game. This hall is our hub from which we can travel to the individual levels. The screen is not particularly good, it does less damage and is even slower than the normal sword. We do look pretty fancy with it for that.

There are more things in Death's Door that are not very useful but look nice. For example, some collectable items fall into the "shiny" category. We can hoard them to decorate our desk in the commission and unlock achievements. Crystals, on the other hand, are very useful. If we find enough of them, we can increase the number of our shots or improve our life bar. And our crow urgently needs more life. In the first few fights we are greeted by the dramatic death screen after a few hits.

Our death is presented to us full screen including dramatic music. Source: PC Games During arena battles, doors keep opening and monsters pour out towards us. Source: PC Games

Death greets every day

But don't worry, when we die we neither lose soul energy nor collected items. We just get back in at the nearest tailor's door. Depending on how far the door is from where we died, it can still be frustrating. Most opponents respawn after our death and we have to compete against them again in order to finally progress. Fortunately, boss opponents and most arena fights are an exception. We stumble over the latter every now and then and can only continue when all waves of monsters pouring in on us have been defeated.

Even if Death's Door with the stylized graphics and the crow looks cute, we mustn't be fooled by it. The game is getting more and more difficult and demands a lot from us. Especially the boss fights are tough. As in other games with challenging bosses, we have to learn attack patterns and sharpen our reflexes. Every now and then we also have to struggle with performance slumps and frame drops, which at times can even make boss fights difficult.

The puzzles are not necessarily difficult, but they are creatively designed. Something seems to be wrong with the reflection here. Source: PC Games Breather

Between the many fights, our gray cells are repeatedly challenged with puzzles. These are usually not particularly difficult, but they make a pleasant change. For example, in the bathroom of the ceramic villa we have to pay attention to the reflections on the floor. Only in reflection do we see vases, which we can then of course smash. Once we have done that, a hidden door opens to the next room.

Those who like secrets can also look forward to it. Some parts of the game world are only accessible through hidden paths and want to be explored. With new abilities like the fire magic we can also explore previously undiscovered areas of the "old" areas. So it certainly pays off to come back every now and then.

Only ceramics in your head

Most of the game follows a proven principle: We fight and puzzle our way through the area to the boss through, unlock new skills and make our way to the next big opponent. But the formula is so well implemented that you never get bored. Every realm attracts with harmonious surroundings and thematically appropriate opponents. In addition, there are NPCs, which are not only remembered because of their strange design.

The gravedigger actually only wants his final peace. Unfortunately we can't help him with that yet. Source: PC Games We remember a gravedigger in the cemetery, for example, because of his tragic story. He really just wants his unnaturally long life to end. We're supposed to help him, but we're still too weak for that. So he sighs in disappointment and asks us to come back as soon as we are stronger. Other characters, on the other hand, loosen up the gloomy mood. The urn witch's property is populated by strange beings whose skulls have been replaced by ceramics. One of the worst was a gentleman who now has a soup pot for his head.

Death's Door takes place in a fascinating world that looks incredibly cute despite the sometimes dark themes. Most fights and puzzles play smoothly, but performance drops at certain points noticeably dampen the gaming experience. The developer Acid Nerve still has to make improvements here so that the indie adventure is not only beautiful, but also technically top-notch.

By the way, the Canuck crow disappeared in 2019. We suspect she was promoted to reaper. She would have the talent.

Death's Door was released on July 20th on Steam and Xbox Series S / X as well as Xbox One and costs around 20 euros.

My opinion

By Monika Himmelsbach

Author The little crow reaper has cast a spell over me. Sometimes Death’s Door is pretty crisp, especially a passage in the Ceramic Palace really made me curse. But I couldn't stop, I wanted to move on. The game did a really good job of keeping me going despite all the setbacks. One flaw: even before the test, I played a preview version of Death's Door, which ran very smoothly. That's why I'm pretty amazed that performance drops occur in the full version. For me the adventure is still an indie highlight and I wait patiently for patches so that Death's Door runs as smoothly as before. Death's Door (PC) 8/10

Graphics - Sound - Multiplayer - Pros & Cons Creative opponent and environment design Playfully demanding and varied Sweet graphic style Challenging, but not overwhelming Sometimes AI problems Performance drops Other pros & cons ... Conclusion Great, demanding adventure with some mysteries, where the performance leaves something to be desired

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