19th Apr2014

‘Life Goes On’ Review (PC)

by Paul Metcalf


If you have played games at all you know that death is always there.  The platform game puts those little traps, whether it be a jump too far, the monster ready to pounce or even a spiked pit just to take away those precious lives.  Life Goes On though is one of those different games that takes an almost cynical approach to death, to make any progress at all then you have to die.

In Life Goes On you start the game with a knight who soon dies.  What you’ll notice though is that his body stays there and now you have a chance to put a new knight into the game.  This knight can use the body of the first knight as a stepping stone to get further.  This is when you fully understand the concept behind Life Goes On.  This is Lemmings for the morbid gamer.

Before you start each level you are given a challenge, get past the level using only a certain amount of knights to get through the puzzle.  Sometimes you’ll manage it but others you’ll get stuck and find that the level is suddenly covered in dead bodies and they are all your fault.  Part of the fun of this is watching the names for each knight, then pondering that some of them having boring names like “Kelly”…now that knight is just asking for you to throw him into the saw blades.

Looked at in its simplest form Life Goes On is all about winning the golden chalice.  We don’t have to question the meaning of life, or even ponder what the life could have been for that knight we just impaled in a spike pit.  The fact is each of these knights gave their lives for the cause, allowing us to get past this level  They may have fought well…but in truth his only use was as a stepping stone to make progress in the game.

Why do I sound so cynical about death in the game? In a way it is because that is how Life Goes On makes you think.  It’s fun and you don’t think about each character that you kill to gain an advantage, these people are just a part of the puzzle that has to be solved.  Sure they may be cute and they follow your commands so readily (not like they have a choice not to) but the fact is they have to die, we don’t care…we just send them to their doom.

The puzzles of the game are arguably what make you keep coming back, whether it be working out how to kill a knight so that his body lands on a switch, or how to get past the flames or other obstacles in our way.  The fact that the control system is so simple makes the game feel deceptively easy, while the puzzles themselves keep us thinking.

So is Life Goes On a game that I can easily recommend? The answer is simply yes.  Pushing the platform game to make the player thing, and adding the innovative use of death to push the progress of the adventure makes this game not only fun but also morbid in a way that feels good.  Yes, you may end up with levels strewn with knights bodies, but in the end you get the golden chalice, and that is all that matters.  Remember, these knights are only computer game characters, even if they have amusing names.  Let them die, because the more they do the further you will get into the game.

Life Goes On is available now, for PC, Mac and Linux, via Steam.

Review originally posted on GeekedGaming

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