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Felix the Reaper review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher: Daedalic
Developer: Kong Orange
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: T

I wish I could bottle up the parts of Felix the Reaper I like, and put them in another, better, more interesting game.

Like, there’s a lot to love about this game, starting with the eponymous character. He’s an avatar of death that you don’t ever see: a joyful Grim Reaper who listens to music on his headphones as he carries out his morbid job, and who can’t help but bounce and dance and sway to the rhythm. The music, too, is incongruously upbeat, which certain belies what you’re setting out to do in this game (that is, harvest souls). The explosion of colour that accompanies every death is a nice touch, too.

Unfortunately, Felix is let down by the game in which he’s starring. It starts out promisingly enough, as you dance around a board, manipulating the shadows that can kill you to get from Point A to Point B and carry out your lethal objectives. It all seems fun enough, and the short little cutscenes add to the merriment.

The further in you get, however, you realize a couple of things. First, that this game becomes incredibly difficult very, very quickly — partly by design, but partly because the controls never seem entirely natural. You’re spinning the world around to open up paths, except the paths and shadows don’t always seem to make sense. On top of that, it was a constant struggle to find a good viewing angle. I’d manoeuvre the camera in just the right place, only to change angles and find that I had to spend another few minutes to find an angle where I could see what I was doing. Repeat that a couple of times each puzzle, and you can see why it feels like the camera and the controls get in the way.

Secondly — and likely not unrelated to the first problem — the puzzles start feeling similar to each other fairly quickly. Sure, the objectives change from puzzle to puzzle, but the way you go about pulling them off never really does. Similarly, while the game’s premise is novel and fun — not only is Felix a happy-go-lucky reaper, he’s in love with a woman who works at the Ministry of Life — that never comes through in what you’re actually doing. It feels like the game and the story it’s trying to tell are on two separate paths, and the game has no way of merging the two.

Which is why I really wish the story — and the overall vibe — could be taken from here and put into a game that I actually enjoyed. Felix the Reaper is easy to love at first sight, but then you’ll fall out of love just as quickly once you’ve actually played it. There’s something here that’s fun and refreshing, but the overall package doesn’t live up to that promise.

Daedalic provided us with a Felix the Reaper Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-