Rage in Peace is a side scroll platformer which pits you against the odds as Timmy. The grim reaper visits you to tell of your timely death. You will die today.
The aesthetic of Rage in Peace immediately reminded me of The Behemoth and their games such as Castle Crashers and Battleblock Theatre. A cartoonish art style which remains simple but still imaginative and quirky. Platforms are kept simple and bold, backgrounds kept to minimal detail while still enriching the environment with a pleasing atmosphere.
The UI is minimal until you open the menus, the only visible element otherwise is a death counter to remind you how many times you have failed, just to rub it in. The menu layout is of a folder which is lore relevant to Timmy’s office job. Minimal UI is a personal strong point as I like to maximise the immersion of games, unless it’s absolutely necessary information.
Timmy, a marshmallow headed office worker has a dream, his only wish is to die at home without any drama. After death himself appears before him in an elevator, grim informs Timmy that at some point within the next 15 hours he will die through decapitation. The story follows Timmy as he attempts to defy death until he can fulfil his only wish in life. Mysterious forces have possessed his path home (a mere seven hours away) and will try to kill him at all costs.
Snippets of backstory are featured through mementos; these are collectables which require you to stay alive after touching them. Completing the timer will add them to the journal and offer snippets of Timmy and his life. Dialogue provided by characters helps to progress the story and injects humour into the game. Worlds have unique characters which will pop up every few sequences and exhaust information about what the hell Timmy is witnessing.
The game revolves around memory. As you progress, seemingly random obstacles appear from all sides of the screen, the job of the player is to avoid this until they reach the next checkpoint. Spike traps are common among other, often amusing enemies which pop out of nowhere with little warning. First runs will most likely end up with trial runs before the pattern of movement you will need to make becomes clear. At times there are chasers, often marked by visual clues to warn that something extra is about to happen. Death will be common, but checkpoints are frequent, there’s no need to worry about extended sequences unless you’re planning a speed run.
Death often had me laughing and not becoming enraged. Placement will often go against the grain and trick the player on tropes they may have learned through gaming experience. Hitboxes are very good and allow you to be within pixels of death which minimises the amount of unnecessary death, but still allows you a heart attack when you manage to clinch a situation. Enemies such as office chair gliders saturate more traditional enemies, such as giant worms and falling ceilings. Despite the humour, the game still requires skill and there is a significant level of difficulty, much of the game can be cleared quickly but there are times when the most obvious solution, isn’t the correct one.
Each world has a boss stage which involves more critical thinking. Bosses have unique, extended mechanics which need more critical thinking within a small space compared to normal level progression. These scenes help to break the game up and offer a change in gameplay while still using the same pattern mechanics.
If you find the game too hard, an optional goldfish mode is available. This mode increases the frequency of checkpoints, this means you don’t need to remember as much. A pop-up warning when you try to activate it explains that goldfish mode is not the intended gameplay experience. There is no need to restart the game again to use it, if you get stuck you can activate it as you play.
Music compliments the environment well but there is a feature which I particularly enjoyed. While a track is playing, a small and non-invasive prompt appears which informs of the name of the track and the artist. Often games will have a great soundtrack and they may include a list of tracks, but it lacks specifics, including this feature will allow you to easily find a song if you like it.
The game doesn’t contain much audio apart from the background soundtrack. Some enemies have warning sounds while others have their own touches to audio to make them more comedic e.g. the emo frogs in the forest biome.
I felt that some of the characters in the game took too much inspiration from popular media. The grim reaper for example, looks very similar to the necromancer in Castle Crashers, another took the same form of Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. I felt that the developers may have sacrificed originality in some aspects of the game.
I would’ve liked to have seen some voice acting in the game, although the story and dialogue was compelling, I found the lack of character audio to be disappointing. With the right voice actors, I think that they could have enhanced the story further, whilst still maintaining the game’s charm.
A brilliant display of indie developer potential. A unique experience where, for a large part of the time, I found my magnitude of death a positive part of the overall experience. I found the humour genuinely funny whilst still maintaining an intriguing and mysterious storyline. The mechanics are skilful enough that the gameplay is difficult, but the comedic atmosphere takes the edge off as you die for the tenth time in a stage.
REVIEW CODE: A FREE PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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