I’m one of those people who every year gets super excited for E3, watches all the livestreams and then generally walks away fairly unimpressed.

That was pretty much the case again last E3 but one indie game really stood out for me and that was Death’s Door. Here’s the game’s initial trailer:


Talking to the grave digger

The Story

The story follows the adventures of a little crow who works as a “Reaper.” Your job is to go into the world and collect the souls of people who’s time it is to die.

It sounds a little bit dark but the whole game has sort of a cute and humorous take on everything.

You start off in a sort of hub world which is the office of the reapers. While you’re there you can’t die but when you enter the “Real World” on an assignment you can age and die until you complete your assignment and return to the office.

After you defeat the first boss and go to reap it’s soul the soul gets stolen from you by an old veteran Reaper who needs it plus several other boss souls to open “Death’s Door.”

He’s trying to chase a monster who’s soul he needs to reap that escaped through that door and hasn’t been able to succeed.

This sets you out on a quest to help him get the souls he needs so you can unlock the door and complete your assignment as well.

Along the way you start to unravel a conspiracy around your office and the whole door and soul reaping system. It also seems that something’s wrong with death itself. A lot of things in the world can’t seem to die which has made everything kind of stagnant.

It all comes together in the end. It’s not a complicated story but it’s fun with some interesting ideas.

There’s also a pretty fun cast of characters. The various crows back at the office all have their own personalities and you meet some very fun and strange characters out in the world such as a giant squid animating a dead human so he can work as a professional chef.


Death's Door Screenshot

The Gameplay

The gameplay is really great and the game is made by the same people who made Titan Souls which I didn’t know until after I finished playing it. Looking back I can definitely see the influence.

It’s an action game that plays as kind of a top down Zelda game with Dark Souls elements. As you explore the areas in the world you’re constantly unlocking shortcuts back to earlier areas and everything is fairly well connected.

For combat you have strong and heavy attacks that you can combo together. Different weapons let you attack faster or slower and do more or less hits per combo before you have to pause.

You also have several different magic attacks that are mostly ranged attacks like shooting a magic arrow or fireball. You have a little meter that depletes when you use magic attacks and hitting things with regular attacks will replenish it.

There’s also a very heavy emphasis on dodging enemy attacks like you would in a Dark Souls game.

Overall the combat doesn’t really do anything groundbreaking that we haven’t seen before but it’s incredibly solid and feels great to play.

Boss fights are especially interesting with various mechanics special to each one. I have seen some people complain about the difficulty of these fights but I didn’t think it was anything too crazy. I did die a few times but eventually you learn the patterns and can finish the fight no problem.

Fortunately there are no penalties for death which is always great. You just start back at the last sort of checkpoint which usually isn’t far and you keep all your experience and everything.


Forest village

The World

The world design in Death’s Door is also fantastic. It’s super detailed and fun to explore with secrets hidden everywhere. Things like extra experience, special items and health or magic upgrades.

There are mysterious doors and other mysteries that don’t make sense until later. Every time I got something new that let me explore more I immediately went back to explore previous areas.

It’s not forced back tracking or anything, I just genuinely enjoyed exploring this world. It’s the perfect size too, large enough but not too large at all. You get a really good feel for where everything is by the end of the game.

There’s also a back tracking system where you unlock fast travel doors that take you back to your office hub area that make things more convenient too.

The different areas are also quite unique too. You have an almost haunted-feeling mansion that belongs to the Urn Witch which is full of magic urns and traps.

There’s an area that starts off at the base of a mountain by the sea and turns into ruined towers that you climb up along the mountain with.

Just overall a lot of imagination went into these areas while it could have been very easy for them to just stick with standard tropes like a castle area or a forest area.


Fortress screenshot

The Graphics

The game has a fantastic style and art direction. The world itself is quite detailed but not overwhelmingly so. Overall the graphics aren’t super complicated or amazing but everything looks great for the style the game is going for.

I have a pretty decent PC setup that’s a few years old now and I was able to run the game in 4k with a perfect 60fps the entire time I played. I never encountered any graphical glitches or anything either.


Death's Door Hub World

Sound and Music

The music is excellent and fits the different areas very well. It wasn’t so amazing that I rushed out to get the soundtrack like with for example Impostor Factory but definitely an above average soundtrack.

The sound effects are excellent as well, everything from the hits of your weapon to the noises enemies make and the atmospheric sound effects are fantastic.


Death's Door restaurant screenshot

In Conclusion

I really enjoyed this game and it’s easily my favorite game this year. Every part of this combines into a fantastic package that to 100% complete everything takes around 15 hours which is a great length.

Exploration is a ton of fun, the combat is a ton of fun, the art direction is fantastic and the story is very interesting with just the right amount of humor.

It sells for about $20 on all the major platforms and it’s a fantastic purchase at that price. If you can get it on sale then grab it immediately because it’s really that good.

Like I said, Death’s Door is easily my game of the year for 2021 and I highly recommend everyone give it a try.

Images from the Death’s Door page on Steam used under Fair Use