Watch our review of this macabre beat ’em up…
Welcome to our review of Death Tales. We’ll tell you everything you need to know before you play this beat ’em up/platformer hybrid.
Hey how’s it going guys! Welcome to our review of Death Tales, now available on Nintendo Switch. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know before you play, but before I do, make sure to hit subscribe and the notification bell for more video game reviews every single week. You’re not going to want to miss it.
Although it released earlier this year for PC, Death Tales was a game that largely fell under my radar, and I’m not sure why, because on paper it seems pretty cool.
Ostensibly a 2D hack and slash/beat ‘em up hybrid, you’re put in the role of a rogue reaper, who after regaining some of your human morality, is tasked with stopping a vengeful Death from enslaving the souls of the dead.
With a fresh new release on the Nintendo Switch, every emo bone in my body was excited to explore a macabre story, an equally grim world and some classic arcade style action. But would it live up to expectations? Watch on to find out…
In a sentence, no. It most certainly doesn’t live up to expectation, with the gameplay being particularly underwhelming. At its core, it’s a mixture of light platforming elements and classic beat ‘em action, however they’re just both executed so poorly. Jumping feels floaty and imprecise, leading to me falling to my death more than a few times, instantly throwing me back to the last checkpoint.
The disappointing combat, which will comprise most of your playing time, feels equally muddy. Hit box detection is just all over the place. Sometimes I’d jump down for a direct hit aerial attack, only for no damage to register, but would suffer loss of life when I’d clearly dodged an enemy’s blow. I’m all for games being challenging, but when they’re fundamentally broken, it’s just masochistic to keep bothering to play.
Even if it did all work as intended, the combat is painfully dull. You only have two basic attacks, and all you’ll end up doing is spamming these until the enemy falls. There’s no real strategy needed, nor could you follow one even if you wanted to. There are no visible enemy health bars, meaning you don’t know if they’re on death’s door or just nursing a flesh wound. This means you have no choice but to quite literally hit and hope that they’ll die before you.
Things do become a little bit more interesting once you begin to unlock power ups and upgrades. Adversaries feel a lot more manageable and fairer once you have access to projectile attacks, but even this only elevates proceedings from annoying to passable. You’ll still follow the same rinse and repeat formula of clearing areas of baddies before you move onto the next area of baddies to clear.
To its credit Death Tales’ art style is very impressive, conveying a gothic, grim and macabre tone without ever feeling drab. Rather it exudes a vibrancy that borders on psychedelic, rich with saturated colours and otherworldly designs. However, after a few stages, it did start to feel a little samey, and doesn’t offer much in the way of level variety. This isn’t particularly offensive, it’s just a shame that the initial wow factor brought on by the visuals quickly, and quite unnecessarily wears off.
To wrap up, Death Tales feels like a missed opportunity. It has an interesting hook, and with a bit more development the worlds it portrays could’ve been equally enchanting. But it’s let down by lacklustre gameplay, making it feels like a chore to play through. If you’re a diehard fan of the beat ‘em up genre, it might be worth a punt, but for everyone else, it’s hard to recommend.
But what did you think of Death Tales on the Nintendo Switch? Please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your thoughts. In the meantime, please hit subscribe for more video game reviews every week, and we shall catch you next time.
If you’d like to support us, please check out our Patreon!