When death knocks at our door, many cultures and people believe in this tall, dark, sinister and menacing figure to snatch us from this life. What we usually don’t imagine is that death is a thing and is greeted by a chubby reaper who plays electronic music with headphones while certainly dancing to her own beat. In fact, this is exactly the case with Felix the Reaper from the developers of Kong Orange.
The package is structured as follows: In the afterlife, there’s a death company that hires reapers, well… trades in death. Among these reapers, there is a strong man who has made it his duty to make sure that people with the right flags are killed according to the department’s plans. However, this mower has ulterior motives, and it will soon become clear what they are. Felix is in love! What? You didn’t think a reaper could have a heart? It turns out he has a crush on a pretty girl from the Ministry of Life named Betty. Felix believes that when he takes over the business of the world, he will have the opportunity to meet this beautiful lady and profess his love to her.
Once the game is launched, you get your first task, which serves as a tutorial. You will be welcomed and instructed by none other than the voice of Sir Patrick Stewart. How true, it’s revealing (I even checked the credits when they looked familiar)! Your first mission is fairly simple and involves the death of a deer during a hunt. You’ll find that the game quickly introduces its creepy humor, because if you accidentally do something wrong, an arrow will pass in front of the deer and eliminate another person walking around. The department disagrees and you have to try again. Felix is also a very special reaper who loves to dance. With a walkman full of cool indie music, Felix never stops dancing around the world.
Being a merchant of death here is a complex, multi-step process that takes the form of a puzzle. At each stage of someone’s death, you have the task of doing something to pave the way for their death. The levels of play are represented by grid tiles that can be moved, but some basic principles make up this unique but challenging puzzle game. First of all, harvesters are always creatures of the shadows and must stay away from the light. So Felix only has to walk on the tiles that are in the shade. The main game mechanic is that you also have the power to change the position of the sun in each level, although only two positions may change. By changing the position of the sun, you change the shadows you cast and therefore the way you move around the level and perform your tasks. There is also a preview mode that allows you to see how the change in sunlight will affect the area. This is very important if you are using it to avoid too many errors, but I found that, more than occasionally, when I switched to this mode, the solar switch button stopped responding. It’s an annoying mistake, but it’s not harmful. You will also often need to move and place objects such as crates or barrels to cast shadows in the areas you need to reach.
As for the difficulty of the puzzles, the game is improving pretty quickly. Only on the second level did I often get stuck and have to reset the milestones or even the whole level when I was totally disoriented. If you happen to see the sun and the tile you’re standing on moves from a shady spot to a bright spot, Felix will jump and the game will rewind because you can’t stand in the light. This allows for issues that may require a reboot, as I found the ability to move items to a location where I could not safely restore them.
Fortunately, the game offers several ways to meet the challenge if you need a hand. At any time, you can go to the options menu and select the Watch Next Step button, which tells you what to do (for example, place the gun in a specific location). You can use this help all you want, although there are implications when solving complex puzzles, but if you need help often, you probably don’t care anyway. You can also reset the game to the last milestone, which takes the form of a specific action in a puzzle and a light flashing notification on the screen. With these two mechanisms, if you’re just there for the love story of this game, you can be tamed until the end, and that’s fine and acceptable to me.
For those looking for a good puzzle challenge, there is also plenty of motivation to do your best. After each level, you will be judged on how well you performed your task using measures such as the number of shots, the number of times you were caught in the light, etc. If you meet or exceed the nominal level requirements, you will be rewarded with challenge badges. If you collect enough of them, additional difficulty levels are unlocked. This, combined with other extra challenges, can really test even the best puzzle fans, I think.
When you finally complete the level task, Felix will perform a micro dance and all the tiles around you will light up in an amazing display of colours, just like in a disco. The amazing thing about these dances is that they were captured and animated by professional dancers, and it was plain to see. If the game didn’t have that personality, I’d probably be writing a review of a puzzle game that seems as lifeless as Death, but Death has so much personality here throughout the game that the game doesn’t seem to stagnate.
Talk about death: Between stories you will have the opportunity to read some facts about how cultures deal with death. The game itself is inspired by the Danse Macabre, or Dance of Death, found in some of our earliest cultural eras. These reading points help build the plot to complete the game, and I found them very interesting as the game progressed.
The overall aesthetic of the game is also well thought out. The game levels are bright, but with scenes of silent clouds and everything in the background. The drawings of the characters reminded me a bit of Psycho, with accentuated details and human forms, but in a dark and cartoony style. For a game that revolves around death, there’s a surprising amount of life here, both in the game’s graphics and in the choice of music you play as Felix follows the controls’ instructions.
Felix the Reaper is a puzzle game with a love story, set in a humorous and tragic dystopian world, with the best dance moves a reaper could have. Puzzles are difficult to solve, and that will put some people off if they’re looking for an easier experience, but if you’re up for the challenge, there’s a lot to love here.
Felix Journal Abstract
- Charts – 7.5/10
- Sound – 7/10
- Gameplay – 6.5/10
- Late Call – 6/10
Final thoughts : GOOD PAGE
Felix The Reaper brings a tragic comedy to the Nintendo Switch in the form of a challenging puzzle game. With a catchy soundtrack, vibrant graphics and a funny story told by Sir Patrick Stewart, this is a good game for only $24.99 on the online store.
Alex has been in the game industry since the release of Nintendo. He’s turned his hobby into a career, spending just over a decade developing games and now serving as creative director of the studio.
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