I should hate this game. I know that sounds like this review is going to be a foregone conclusion, but trust me, it’s not – and I’ll get to more of that in a minute. But I really should hate this game. Why? Well, the most obvious reason is that it is a trial and error game. Yes, you may have seen the trailers or screenshots and just assumed it’s just a platform game but it is more than that. It’s a platform game that you have to inch your way through in order to find all of the things that are going to kill you, so that you can avoid them.
And in theory, at least, that doesn’t sound to me like a great time. I like platformers with challenge, sure. But I like platformers that are fair – so whenever you die, you know that it was your fault and not the fault of the game. And that does not happen in Rage in Peace. In Rage in Peace, you traverse levels trying to avoid things that will kill you – falling lights, spikes that mysteriously appear from the floor, sharks that jump out of tiny puddles etc, etc – and if you get hit once, it is game over and you start the level again (or at least from the most recent checkpoint), trying desperately to remember all of the hazards that will attack you as you move forwards through the game.
It’s frustrating, it’s unfair and it’s… much more fun than I thought it would be.
And a lot of that comes down to the story. Rage in Peace is the story of Timmy Malinu, who is due to die. However, after he manages to not die straightaway, Death shows up and tells him that as long as he dies within that day, Death himself doesn’t mind when or how, and so begins Timmy’s quest. The quest to stay alive, get home and die comfortably. However, it very quickly becomes clear that the universe has it in for Timmy, as impossible hazards start to appear, the office block he works in is bombed, and his boss turns into a very homicidal pig.
And that’s just the first level.
If that description didn’t make you giggle, then I probably didn’t do a very good job of communicating the story and humour to you. But trust me, it’s a very fun and intriguing plot, and that goes a long way to adding to the repetitive gameplay.
The game has a nice cartoony graphical style (which offsets all of the blood and gore) and the music and sound is OK – the game recommends you use headphones if you are playing in handheld mode, and I’d agree that this is probably a good idea – you don’t get many clues regarding upcoming hazards, but you do occasionally hear something out of place, and you need all of the advance warning you can get! The controls are good as well – pretty tight and well rounded for a platformer that requires pixel perfect accuracy.
This is a game that feels like it should be played in short bursts – memorise each short section from one checkpoint to the next, and then repeat – and it’s a shame that the game only saves within the level at a couple of set points, meaning that your progress towards the other checkpoints is all lost if you have to come out of the game or choose to stop and go back a little later.
But all in all I had a good time with this game. It really has got the one more go factor, which is highlighted even further by the counter in the top left that clocks up how many deaths you have experienced in your current playthrough. That, combined with the tight controls and the interesting story definitely kept me interested for a while – even if the repetitive gameplay and constant memorisation of levels may not be the best piece of game design in the world.
An interesting curio this one – if it sounds like it’ll be your kind of thing, then it probably is.