Published on April 1st, 2016 | by Scot Mackay0
Review: 101 Ways to Die
A couple of years in development and here we have a cartoonish puzzle platformer from the chaps at a little known Yorkshire development studio, Four Door Lemon Ltd.
Now let it be known that when it comes to a game involving smashing axes into faces or vaporising aliens with acid guns then I am your man. I’m the one who will quite happily load up my character with every kind of explosive, dive into the centre of the enemy and push the button BUT…. put me in front of a puzzle game which requires above 6% brain power and I….am….fecked.
In saying that, I do like a challenge and this game does have a cartoonish quality that is widely appealing.
A brief intro shows some wacky cut scenes of Dr Splattunfuder. A Dr Frankenstein styled character whose life work is to detail and collect the knowledge of the best way to kill his enemies by using various contraptions and setups. By the end of his all his crazy experiments, he has collected (funnily enough) 101 Ways to Die into a single book. Now this is where things go awry.
To complete all these insane experiments, he uses a version of the Despicable Me Minions, called ‘Frankensplatts’. Lumbering zombie like creatures who seem to enjoy being blown up, stabbed, decapitated, blitzed, boiled, toasted, churned and clubbed to death repeatedly. One of these incompetent ‘Splatts’ decides it’s a good idea to drop the bomb (an actual frickin’ bomb) right next to Dr Splattunfuder and his bible of death whilst he is revelling in his triumph and disintegrates the book in the explosion.
Heartbroken, slightly miffed and looking for a way to gather all of the 101 ways of death back together again, he passes all the hard work of recreating the experiments to a temp agency which happens to employ little ol’ you.
Now if you were lucky enough to have grown up with Lemmings, you will be pretty familiar with the setup. If not, here is a quick descriptive run down.
You view each level from the side and have start point where ‘Splatts’ are dropped into the level with the aim of shuffling their way across the map to a set finishing point. Your job is to pre-plan devices and traps to kill as many of these ‘Splatts’ as possible in inventive and new ways and preventing them from getting to the finish line. The more inventive and creative you are; the more points you get. There are even extra points for stringing kills together and a combo-killing as many as you can so use your imagination and the bonuses will come flooding in.
Now like I said before, puzzle games are not my strong point and I did find some of the instructions based in the game a little long winded and over complicated for easy use but after a little bit of trial and error and a tutorial level, I managed to get the basics down.
As the levels progress, you really need to pay attention as to the layout of each stage. Look for springs or pits, maybe cannons and trampolines. All of these things will help you in your murderous quest but you will find that your best friend is the tactic of play, replay, replay, replay some more and then hopefully complete the stage. By watching how the ‘Splatts’ move through the level and how many of them there are going to be involved, it gives you an idea of how to lay your traps and the best way to stem the tide of the lumbering Blood bags.
An enjoyable game if you like your puzzlers cute yet gore filled. I struggled purely because my brain isn’t wired correctly for this type of game but that is completely from my perspective. I found it to have a quirky humour which is incredibly endearing and loveable…especially with all the arms and legs flying everywhere with pints of blood bursting across the level.
Rate ‘T’ for Teen because of the obvious blood content and coming in at £10.39 on the Xbox Live Store, this game will keep you occupied as long as you keep creating new and exciting ways to maim your ‘Splatts’ like the Jigsaw killer from Saw.
Summary: 101 Ways to replay a level to get it right but still enjoyable with a sense of style, pizazz and character. Let the bodies hit the floor, walls and roof.