Die to Win
This game is a puzzle platformer that requires death, making it all the more comfortable for a person like me who rarely plays puzzle or platforming games anymore. In my experience with this genre of games, death is punished. This could be needing to start over from the beginning of the level, with perhaps some expanded knowledge of the level and what went wrong. But still–you go back to the start.
In Life Goes On, you play with one of an endless supply of knights contracted by a King to find the Cup of Life. Each level ends when a cup is reached. For the cups to be reached, there will be obstacles that will need to be completed. Early on, it will be simple with obstacles like spikes to get past. But how will you do it when the knight cannot jump far enough to clear the spikes? The fact is, the knight won’t need to jump past them, but jump into them. Their body will then become a platform for the next knight to make his way across.
That is how this games goes. Sacrificing one knight helps the progression of the next. If you’re confident with your platforming and puzzle solving skills, then you can focus on using the least number of knights. The number of knights and the time taken will be recorded. As you play through a level, there is a page at the bottom showing the name of the current knight. When one dies, the name is crossed out and the next name appears.
The puzzles get more and more difficult as you progress with direct obstacles and solutions. Some puzzles can be completed through some kind of trial and error aspect. This mostly goes for ones that involve a timing mechanic. Even puzzles that looked or started out as similar to the a previous will have a different solution. Then there are the mega levels. These are off the regular quest path and are not needed to be completed to pass to the next area of levels. Still, they provide an extra challenge to get through as they are longer and more involved than the usual.
And don’t forget to meet Jeff. Jeff is a furry creature that can be found on the levels. Getting to Jeff can be a secondary challenge to each level. He can be out of the path of getting to the grail on the level. Getting to Jeff is another collection task that can be completed on levels beside getting the best time or least dead knights.
The completion of the levels and tasks will unlock new accessories for the knights. They do not change the game play or give any advantage in the game to have one over another. What is does provide is a little bit more entertainment. The descriptions of the items, when unlocked, were often amusing. They would appear randomly on the knights. I found the game to be somewhat freeing. Other platformers I have played could make me feel horrible when I failed to find the solution or have the right timing, even though my failure was due to lack of knowledge. In Life Goes On, trial and error seem to be a more accepted way of figuring out the solutions.
The premise of the game is dark. It still finds a way to be light and humorous, even if it is a morbid comedy. The humor can be found in the story paragraphs that appear on the map and the item descriptions. The knights are cartoon-like and so is the King. And while about death there is no gore to this game.