Indie-ana Jones Reviews: Life Goes On
Life Goes On is like no other game I have played. Yes it’s a puzzle platformer but it has a big twist. You must use the dead bodies of your ancestors to complete each level. Many will die but most not in vain, their sacrifice will help you succeed. Oh that spike pit is too long to jump? Well make a platform out of your body so one of your ancestors can get over it in the near future.
There is little story other than finish the puzzles and get the loot in each level. Life Goes On doesn’t need a story to keep you engaged, so the story (or lack thereof ) is no problem. There are three worlds with fifty levels and they are full of death and destruction. As you pass through each new area a new wrinkle is added. First you encounter spikes and fire but soon enough you find ice, cannons, and many more. Each area begins with fairly simple puzzles to get you accustom to the new death device. By the end of each area though you will have killed many with no real progress (sadly) because the puzzles are difficult and require precise timing. That precision and difficulty is what makes solving it so rewarding. I caught myself saying “hell yeah” on multiple occasions.
Even when you struggle on the difficult levels it doesn’t bother you because the game is not cheating you. It is like Portal (2) where you just feel dumb for not figuring it out earlier but never angry. The competent controls and morbid comedy will keep you going and keep you coming back again and again. Whenever I had a spare few moments I would play through a few more levels.
The graphics, music, and dark humor are all great and add to the draw. The graphics make the world feel dark without making the screen dark. This is a problem with many games that try and make the game feel scary or creepy, making it impossible to see what is going on. The graphics are like an HD version of an old school game. What makes it interesting is how cute the characters and environments are but the game still feels like a dark comedy. It is an interesting balance they have struck. The music is oddly cheery also and this just adds to the morbidity. It is pleasant and intrusive, it is not grating like many games in the genre where the music is in a constant loop of annoying.
When you die the grunts and screams adds to the gruesomeness of the experience. Strategically jumping into saw blades to position your body on a button or circuit to an upbeat tune is pretty dark but oddly fun. There are some laugh out loud moments mostly dealing with the character names or bouncing a body off a ton of stuff to get him to a button. The names are fun to: The Noble Duchess Monica the Second or The Dysfunctional Naomi Schumann the Elder. This all gives Life Goes On a unique flavor.
After finishing the fifty levels you might feel it wasn’t long enough but that is not the end of your journey. There are a ton of challenges, from speed runs to finding and feeding “Jeff” (A rock monster) in each level. Finding Jeff might not be hard but feeding him one of your knights is a whole other beast. This makes it like Trials HD in a lot of ways. It kept me playing long after finishing and can be infuriating when you need to cut off a fraction of a second. Somehow all that anger doesn’t dissuade you but drives you harder. I have played it a lot and still only have about half of the challenges finished. Minimal deaths is my favorite challenge because it takes cleverness to finish a puzzle exactly right. Some of the levels have a one death limit (insanity!) but when you figure it out you feel like the smartest guy/gal ever.
I loved Life Goes On and have hours logged on it. The main game, fifty levels, might seem a little short but the challenges will keep you going for a good long while. What makes this game a true gem is the unique puzzle solving and dark comedy. Electrocuting your knight has never been so fun and useful. It is worth every penny of the $12.99 I spent. If you are in the market for a great puzzle game I suggest you pick this one up.