Til Death Do Us Part: Life Goes On

Life Goes On

Originally conceived for the Global Game Jam 2012 in accordance with the “Ouroboros” theme, Life Goes On takes a single clever mechanic seen in a few previous platformers and focuses on finding a more extensive and deeper utilization of it. As implied by the title, the mechanic is one that revolves around death, as you have to make use of corpses to traverse the obstacles in the game.

The most clear-cut example of doing this is having a spike pit that’s too wide for your character to jump across, and so you deliberately jump into its middle and leave a corpse there. Then, once you’ve respawned from the last checkpoint, you then use that body now impaled on the spikes as a platform to jump across. A year or so later and Life Goes On has a handful of levels that have been refined due to player feedback and sees some quite amusing puzzle solutions emerge, as you can find out in the new demo.

Life Goes On

The most appealing part of Life Goes On, at least initially, is its morbid sense of humor. As you kill one of the knights off in these deadly underground caves, they let out a painful yelp that is tuned in such a way that it occasionally results in a giggle escaping your mouth. More so, once you respawn with another knight, there is a title at the bottom that sees the name of the previous knight crossed out and the name of this next knight written up. The names are typically ridiculously pompous knightly names, which would give the impression that these are capable and manly men of nobility, which juxtaposes well with their quick deaths (and being used as an object) to produce a comic effect.

“Sacrifice an endless stream of fearless knights into the arsenal of spike pits, flamethrowers, sawblades and lava to make progress through a deadly gauntlet filled with elaborate deathtraps!”

Life Goes OnHowever, once that initial delight has died down, you’re then left with a very animated puzzle to deal with. Spikes lay across moving platforms, flamethrowers sit at the end of perilous jumps and cannons await for your knight to jump in and be fired towards the nearest solid surface. Death is all around, and, for once, it’s actually a good thing that it is. Most of the puzzles are pretty easy to work out and make good use of the mechanic, but I do have a favorite as it made good use of the game’s vital checkpoint system.

Checkpoints are handy when death comes your way as you can start over from a nearby position. But there’s a level in Life Goes On that uses an abundance of checkpoints that are spinning on huge machines that have to be avoided. If you don’t avoid the checkpoint, then you can’t respawn the next knight in the place you need when you kill the current one off. It’s such a simple idea, but I love how it inverts the use of one of the most common elements of platformers.

There’s plenty more to come with Life Goes On than what’s currently on show, so keep an eye out for it as the developers continue to release new builds and seek further feedback.

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