‘Friendship destroyer’; ‘family ruining’; these are a couple of the phrases being passed around by the Steam community at current. Why? Because Move or Die is one of the best things to happen to the gaming world, and the worst thing to happen to friendships, since Mario Party. With high scores and positive responses from the online community, one can only assume that it’s ideal to play with your friends – look, there’s even a four-pack to buy so three other people can play as well! Great right? Just remember, when your friendships inevitably end, you can still play with bots and there’s an online mode for you to compete with other strangers whose friendships have also died a horrible death. So you’re not alone, kid. You’re not alone.
Move or Die is a fast paced, 4-player party game where things are changed up every 20 seconds. Yes, I’m being serious; 20 seconds. And as the game suggests, you always have to be moving…otherwise you die. You face ever-changing game modes that you can choose to include, all while it bites you in the butt when things don’t do to plan. It’s a controller-crushing, muscle-tensing, obscenity-firing, cramp-receiving, overall-infuriating sort of game, but holy hell is it fun. Developed by Those Awesome Guys, founded in 2012 by Nicolae Berbece – amazingly the entire operation is a one-man independent company based in Romania, though he teams up with other developers around the world – it’s not hard to predict that this simple party game is going to be an absolute smash this year.
When joining a party, each character has to select a few game modes. With eleven different modes to choose from you’re likely to find at least one you like. *Pre-warning – obnoxiously long list incoming* Starter modes are as follows: Vertigo; Ghost Scare; Cleanup Crew; Chainsaw Backstab; Speed Run; Rocket Run; Fizzle Floor; Falling Blocks; Hat Chase; Jump Shot; and finally Sugar Rush. It seems as a player I’ve got a talent for the Chainsaw Backstab and Rocket Run (not entirely sure what that says about me as a person), but am utterly, utterly useless at Speed Run and Sugar Rush. It’s actually a little embarrassing how terrible I am at it. But should you grow tired of these choices there’s even a feature for you to create your own levels, game modes and establish your own rules. This feature, especially if it becomes an online function, is destined to be hilarious.
When it comes to the visuals you’d think there’s only so far a game like this can get but it’s quite spectacular. Maybe it’s all the bright colours exciting my inner child but I cannot find this game boring in the least. Its simplistic-but-effective design style, overall ability to unlock new characters, and pretty awesome sound track makes it hard for Move or Die to get old quickly. Another thing that makes me like Those Awesome Guys more and more is their open attitude toward mod development. It reminds me of Klei, that way. Move or Die is Steam Workshop supported, so not only are you free to design your own levels; you’re also free to design your own characters and sounds if you want, i.e. on the workshop at the moment there’s a lightsabre sound mod for the Chainsaw Backstab mode. Yes. Please. Gimme.
Those Awesome Guys has made it abundantly clear that any DLCs, skins, game modes, etc, can be unlocked as you earn XP competing online. “Everything in the game can be unlocked for free, no paywalls. No bull$#%&. Period.” – My favourite quote of the whole website. It also looks like Move or Die isn’t just a one-trick pony. With the promise of regular content updates, Those Awesome Guys has a plan to keep in everyone’s radar for the foreseeable future, and good on them. It’s very disappointing when you find a multiplayer game that’s incredibly fun, only for it to whittle out and die because it hasn’t moved anywhere since its day 1 release (no pun intended…oh, alright, pun intended).
I was actually fortunate enough to have played this at EGX 2015 with a group of strangers. It’s easy to tell the popularity of a game by how many people you have to slip past to get a controller in your hand and that was just it. My friend and I were lucky enough to play Move or Die fairly late in the day so it wasn’t as crowded, but at peak time you couldn’t even see the players. People were yelling, screaming at each other, cheering and laughing, and that made it clear that Move or Die got it right. The biggest shame of this new generation of gaming compared to the 80s and 90s is that, though the graphics are better and the games are still fun, we’ve lost that sense of togetherness when it comes to multiplayer. I don’t mean that in a supportive ‘kum ba yah’ sort of way. I mean when you’ve got a bunch of friends over and you’re knocking their controller out of their hands, throwing cushions at each other across the room, yelling obscenities so violent that it’d make your mum give you a riotous wallop, and laughing until you cry.
So there you have it. For the first time in what seems like forever this has turned out to be a fairly flawless play-through review. There are still a few things to work on but my experience of Move or Die has been really excellent. Performance-wise I’ve experienced no drops in frame rate, no connection issues – some rage issues, maybe, but I can’t blame the performance for that; or, maybe I can. My one hope for Move or Die is that it can stick around for a good, long while yet and get the publicity it so clearly deserves.
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