Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

[Review] Death’s Gambit Afterlife – Nintendo Switch

By Elly Oak Jan 10, 2022
Developed By: White Rabbit
Published By: Serenity Forge
Categories: Metroidvania, Adventure, Action
Release Date: 09.30.21

It’s a 2D Souls-like. I know that’s a easy statement to make, but it really does feel like a 2D Souls game, mechanics and all.

You control Sorun, an soldier brought back to the world of the living due to unfinished business and a pact with Death. While Sorun has his own story, which is slowly unveiled the further you get into the game, but as a character he is what you make him. The class, the weapons, abilities. It’s your choice, and the game is rather open with how it allows you to do these things. I chose to be a thief with daggers. Quick, agile, good with combos.

We’re off on our journey. I expected the worst upfront. Crippling difficulty, massive butthurt on my end. Instead, I was gracefully shown the ropes. It didn’t seem hard for hard’s sake. If you know what you’re doing, enemies can completely destroy you, but the game gives you those chances. You’re taught naturally, not just thrown into the fire. Take what you learned and then approach the legitimately difficult boss battles. Don’t consider this a difficulty spike. Consider this the levels between to be your assignments and homework, with bosses being tests.

You’re gonna use a lot of the buttons, so try not to take too much time off between playthroughs, or you’re gonna get all mixed up on how to deflect or slide and such. Much like the recent Metroid Dread, every button is used and has a function, it’ll take time to remember things, but it all works once you do.

It very much is a copout to call games “Souls esqe”, but this game seems to take the influence rather close. It’s not just the difficulty. Bonfires to heal, replenish supplies, and use souls to level up. Plumes are much like the Estus Flasks, healing you in times of need. It’s one of those stamina based action games too. Each move should be thoughtful and planned. Don’t just bumrush enemies or spam buttons or you’ll just get tuckered out and open for a killing blow.

When every move counts, it makes ever success feel oh so much more satisfying. You earned that kill, you prevailed against the odds. It may and can very well be frustrating when an attack you saw or maybe didn’t see coming kills you in one hit, but it just makes the win feel all the better.

Death’s Gambit plays great, but also looks and sounds great. Beautiful spritework and animation are the big showstoppers here. Usually dark games like this are…drab. Maybe too dark and colorless, but Death’s Gambit is full of color. It’s not colorful to the extent of being too sweet or cutesy, not even remotely close, but it’s not bland. In a lot of these kinds of games, the dark mood goes right into the look of the game too, and just gets boring.

The audio is another thing that wowed me. The music feels grand. It’s fitting for the adventure, the suspense, the danger. There’s voice acting, quite a bit of it. I found that to the characters you hear, it fits just right. I’m always pleased to see smaller scale or indie games with voice acting of decent quality.

I’m not the biggest Souls-like person in the world, but I think it’s a bit different in 2D. In 2D, it gives more of the familiar Metroidvania feel. For me at least, this draws me more into the game and makes it even the slightest more accessible. Go give this one a try.

4.5/5


Buy Now: $19.99 Digital – $34.99 Physical

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*Game Download Code graciously supplied for the purpose of review

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