Death of a Wish Logo
Death of a Wish Icon
Death of a Wish

Developer: melessthanthree

Publisher: Syndicate Atomic

  • Price: $19.99
  • Release Date: Mar 11, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: Jun 20, 2024 [$17.99]
  • Lowest Historic Price: $17.99
  • ESRB Rating: M [Mature]
  • Watch this review on YouTube
    Stylish and challenging, it has some appeal, but its distinct art style isn’t without some issues

    One pretty consistent quality I tend to love in the best indie games is their willingness to do things their own way and just let it all hang out. Just a few minutes with Death of a Wish will absolutely convince you that it completely fits that mold, ironically in part by refusing to fit into simple traditional expectations. With an unusual art style that’s reminiscent of colored chalk line art on a blackboard, a combat style that almost feels like a beat-em-up at times, and a plethora of collective options to customize your character and give yourself maximum ability to look and feel stylish in battle, it just screams for your attention pretty well out of the gate.

    When discussing the game it’s hard not to start with its unique look. Given the fact that you’ll often be dealing with what should be pretty nightmarish creatures, the somewhat minimalist way they’re depicted helps them look all the more bizarre in many cases. Without the abundance of detail and definition, your mind is left to fill in the blanks a bit and at least in my mind this works. If you’re going to take down these creations you’re going to need to be able to fight, and thankfully the game has you covered pretty well from all directions. The combos and abilities you’ll start out with are good enough, backed up by a parry that I found to be wonderfully effective when being quite aggressive with your enemies, but it’s once you begin unlocking different fighting styles and enhancements that everything will open up further. Not only can you then settle in with the two you feel most comfortable with, being able to switch between them on the fly for devastating effect sometimes, but the game will also reward you with higher scores for changing things up… though I’ll admit I’m not sure to what ultimate end either.

    In terms of what left me a bit more indifferent, I will say that the minimalist art style can be a bit of a liability when the fighting gets pretty intense. Ultimately it gets to be a mess of lines and colors and you’ll really need to feel the fight more than see it clearly, but I also won’t say that I typically felt the combat was unfair either. There is absolutely a clarity cost though, and depending on how you vibe with the fighting action you could take issue with it. Another aspect that is certainly there front and center, but didn’t really land with me one way or another, was the story. There’s definitely a heavy religious cult kind of vibe going on, complete with zealots and some ugliness, but some of the story beats and speeches absolutely felt like they were going over my head. There’s some passion there, and it all seems very deliberate, but I will say that it didn’t connect with me enough to move the needle one way or another.

    Put it all together and you have a gaming experience that’s visually distinctive, leaves plenty of room for you to get your fight on just the way you like, and is generally challenging without being oppressively tough. I suppose if for whatever reason the intense battling doesn’t click with you the game’s stock would drop like a rock, as that really ends up being its best selling point, but it feels pretty good on a consistent basis. As I mentioned, visual clarity can be an issue at times, but once you’re in the flow you can generally still spot when to counter and then knock your opponents around a bit. I suppose for some folks the religious extremist angle of the story could be a turn-off, but otherwise you’re looking at a game that absolutely feels unique and can be a blast to knock around with.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Nindie Choice! [8.2]

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