In all kinds of fiction, there’s a fascination with death as a bureaucracy. The finality of it all is maybe slightly lessened or made more palatable if we think of the great beyond as pencil-pushers doing their jobs the same way we spend most of our lives. Death’s Door, an upcoming action-RPG from Titan Souls developer Acid Nerve takes that bureaucracy and puts it at the foundation of the game’s story.
In Death’s Door, you play as a young crow that is part of an organization of reapers. When a reaper is assigned a soul, they have to physically subdue the soul’s owner and then take that soul back to the office for processing. Upon defeating and obtaining a giant soul, the young reaper is knocked out and the soul stolen. After discovering it has disappeared beyond Death’s Door, the reaper has to eventually make it through and get the soul back or they are doomed to a mortal life where they age and eventually die.
What ensues is an adventure that takes beats from games like The Legend of Zelda, Bastion, and Dark Souls. I know, I absolutely know, the Souls comparison has gotten so overused in the last decade that it is utterly meaningless, but there’s no way around it: Death’s Door is absolutely cribbing some notes from Dark Souls. The crow’s first major target is an Old Witch who has long defied death and along the way meets a knight with a pot for a head — named Pothead — who might as well be any given NPC knight that stands in front of any given Dark Souls area to explain the boss lore to you and then laugh.
What sets Death’s Door apart is not what influences it uses them, but how elegantly it combines them into something interesting. The quick, interesting combat fans out in many directions with different weapons and a variety of spells for players to switch around and/or focus on. Every hit the crow takes inflicts the same amount of damage, but it is surprisingly easy to find yourself losing pace to a rapidly escalating battle situation. Death’s Door makes it paramount to stay calm and re-center yourself or things quickly become too overwhelming.
I only got to play one of the game’s several areas in my preview, but playing the game has quickly become an exciting proposition in just a few weeks. The game’s tone, art, premise, and gameplay all feel decidedly interesting and I can’t wait to see how it fully evolves across the full game.