This enchanting adventure is among the best games of 2021 for Xbox and PC

This enchanting adventure is among the best games of 2021 for Xbox and PC

Death’s Door is an exciting indie title from Devolver Digital and Acid Nerve, the team behind the popular top-down action-adventure Titan Souls. Acid Nerve has taken their expertise and poured it into Death’s Door, creating a unique and enchanting action role-playing game (RPG) that really scratches the Zelda-itch for those locked to an Xbox or PC.

A much larger world awaits the reaper in Death’s Door. As the game progresses, you peel back layers of an intriguing conspiracy that threatens the balance between life and death, taking place across a wide variety of dimensions and otherworldly locales.

In this universe, crows are known as reapers, and they serve as agents of death itself. Reapers ferry souls to the afterlife and must slay entities that aren’t willing to go down without a fight. As a fledgling crow, your early career hits a bit of a snag after your quarry is stolen. The paperwork involved in a lost soul is enormous, and our fabled reaper is sent off to hunt down this wayward spirit in an attempt to understand just what the heck is going on.

This is Death’s Door, a game that absolutely deserves your attention.

Right from the outset, Death’s Door paints itself as something special. The monochromatic offices of the reaper administration juxtapose bleak desolation with charming humor and characters that range from vaguely disconcerting to endearingly cute. Your first assignment takes you into a forest realm, serving as the game’s tutorial. After dispatching the strange entity in the forest, an elderly crow reaper steals your reward on his personal quest to unlock the titular death’s door, ensconced in a forgotten cemetery. What’s behind the door exactly? Therein lies the central mystery of the game.

Death’s Door is first and foremost an isometric action-adventure game that pays tribute to the likes of classic Zelda, complete with soft RPG progression and Metroidvania-style secret hunting.

The crow’s actions leave the forest portal permanently open. Hilariously, throughout the game, cute forest spirits gradually pour out of the door into the greyscale decrepitude of the reaper offices, gradually filling them with color. The affectionate characterization permeates the entire game and gives the game huge memorability.

The game performs well on my RTX 2070 and an Xbox Series S, hitting 60 frames-per-second (FPS) without issue. The resolution takes a hit on the Xbox Series S, but I expect it looks far sharper on the more powerful Xbox Series X, given that Death’s Door is fully enhanced for the new-gen consoles. I did encounter some bugs here and there, though, some of which forced me to close and reload the game. The grappling hook caused me to get stuck in the terrain a couple of times, with no recourse other than a reboot.

There were at least three instances where I couldn’t progress due to a combat event failing to resolve properly, at least one of which was due to an enemy falling through the floor. I did encounter a couple of strange graphical glitches on the Xbox Series S too, where character models would briefly freak out into huge fractals before snapping back into place. The crow also has an odd judder on the Xbox Series S, which is irritating but not exactly game-breaking. I didn’t experience any crashing though, thankfully, and the majority of these bugs are pretty minor and will likely be fixed with a day one or post-launch patch.

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  • This enchanting adventure is among the best games of 2021 for Xbox and PC
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