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Death’s Door review | PC Gamer

Need to Know

What is it? A top-down Zelda-ish adventure with a unique cockeyed perspective.
Expect to pay: $20/£16.79
Developer: Acid Nerve
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Reviewed on: Windows 10, GeForce GTX 1070, Intel Core i7-9700 CPU, 16GB RAM  
Multiplayer: No
Link: Official site

Think of Death’s Door like a loving parody of the greater Dark Souls universe. All the trappings are there: the stony grey ruins of a dying realm, the wandering eccentrics with scene-setting dialogue, the gothic typeface whenever you encounter a boss lingering in their keep. It’s grim as hell, but also, kinda funny. A looming overlord keeps a novelty mug on his desk, and the afterlife is recast as a pencil-pushing bureaucracy, with a professional class of various grim reapers complaining about the drudgery of work. Venture to the sanctum of the first boss and you’ll find not a dragon or an undead monstrosity, but a very angry grandmother. There’s a low-stakes breeziness to Death’s Door that I came to admire over its 10 hours. At every turn, two-person studio Acid Nerve finds the sweet spot.

Death’s Door is built like an old-school Zelda game: Players take control of a diminutive crow in a diorama-like world, and, outfitted with a sword and a dream, traipse through three dungeons to secure the macguffins necessary to pry open the titular gateway. In each of those levels, the player will stumble into an extra equippable weapon that assists in solving the puzzles found within the labyrinth. 

It’s all very standard stuff, predictable in the way that great action-adventures always are. I knew without question that a hookshot would materialize after seeing all of the wooden stakes conspicuously smattered across unreachable platforms, just as I knew that all of those crumbled patches in the walls would soon give way to an infinite supply of bombs. If you grew up on these games, you’ll likely be able to play Death’s Door through your limbic instincts.

(Image credit: Acid Nerve/Devolver Digital)

There’s real magic to be found when a game is only as long as it needs to be to get to the point.

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