Review – Have A Nice Death
One time on a Nintendo Direct, they decided to show off a new game called Have A Nice Death. Have A Nice Death is a rogue-lite action platformer where you play as the grim reaper, also known as Death, after getting sick of the monotony of working a desk job. Definitely relatable. You set off to clean up the souls, and make sure staff are doing their jobs. It’s a pretty simple concept for the game.
I really like the characters in Have A Nice Death, they’re all emotive and well written. Plus, a lot of them are quite cutesy, which is a fun change from the obvious darkness surrounding the story. You’ll also be able to buy various changes for the office (your hub between runs) that have an effect on more than just the aesthetic look. For instance, one of the first ones that will be available to you is the Halloween one. This will add pumpkins and spooky stuff around the office, but some characters will also dress up and change their dialogue to talk about a Halloween party. It’s a fun change from games like Hades, where having your own customisable hub is neat, having it effect more than just the look is a really nice touch.
As far as the extra levels, they’re pretty simplistic. It’s all fairly linear outside of one area here or there that have bigger platforming sections. It is generally move through a corridor, beat some enemies along the way, come to a room that will lock you in, beat some enemies in the room, repeat. Each floor does have different options though. As you reach the end of a floor, you’ll be able to decide between a few different options for the next one. You can go through the armoury to get better weapons, you can fight a miniboss, or you can go through others1 to raise your max mana.
Once you start a run you’ll have to pick a scythe, right in the beginning you’ll have to pick between two options. Of course there’s a basic scythe, but there’s also a double scythe that’s quicker and a bit weaker, a scythe on a string that has longer range. There are options. You’ll also be able to pick up sub weapons. These are things like throwing stars, a hammer, or magic. You’ll be able to find more or new ones on any floor, with it obviously being easier on the armoury floor.
When battling enemies, you’ll be able to dodge through attacks as per the usual. That said, there are some weapons through the game that have attacks that are essentially lunges or feel like dodges. Be careful, because they’re not. Although you’ll move through enemies, and you have to lunge to use them, if the enemy attacks you’ll still take damage. I have lost at least a couple runs just simply because I decided to use one of these weapons that feels like it would class as a dodge, but doesn’t.
One key thing to point out is that travelling between floors can be a bit rough. The framerate drops to an absolute zero. The best bet is to just not move and let everything load in, because you will absolutely take damage if there’s an enemy or a trap immediately at the start. It’s unfortunate, because it can really ruin the flow and momentum that you’ve been building through previous battles.
Have A Nice Death has a great soundtrack, and you’re always greeted with a nice little jingle as you start from Death’s office. The soundtrack matches the style and aesthetic of the game, which is always a really key thing to nail. While, as mentioned above, the graphics are cute but also really well detailed. Characters are cartoonish and sound like they’re from Animal Crossing, which helps you ignore some of the darker themes surrounding death like accidents and deaths.
One of the best things about Have A Nice Death is the humour. Death is sick of working in an office, working behind a desk, and has the attitude anyone who’s worked that job will fully appreciate. The minibosses are all named something somewhat satirical, like the janitor being named P. Clean. If you don’t get it, say it out loud.
I really looked forward to Have A Nice Death, and thankfully, I wasn’t let down. Everything about it was right up my alley, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s hard to say whether it’s going to be a suitable replacement for me to Dead Cells, mostly because I have been ill since the game came out, but it’s a lot of fun to play and I’m hoping the devs stick with it as much as the fans will. With some good DLC, Have A Nice Death will be the next big indie roguelike people talk about with the same love and respect that Dead Cells or Hades get.
Have A Nice Death is one of the cutest games I’ve played, whether purposeful or not. All the designs are adorable it’s hard to forget they’re hellspawn. The levels are designed really well for the different locations and it makes for a nice adventure through death.
Have A Nice Death is quite fluid in how it plays, but there are some small annoyances. Like a lack of I-frames when an attack lunges you at an enemy anyways, and sometimes with an attack to quick to predict so you get nailed no matter what. I’ve unfortunately lost a couple runs to that.
I really enjoy the sound effects and music in Have A Nice Death. All the characters sound like they’re from Animal Crossing so that’s not particularly special, but cute all the same.
Fun Factor: 8.0
Some small quality of life improvements, like fixing framerate when going to a new floor would be needed to really up the quality of Have A Nice Death, but as it stands right now it’s a really fun roguelike with a lot to offer for fans of the genre.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Have A Nice Death is available now on Nintendo Switch and PC.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
A copy of Have A Nice Death was provided by the publisher.