Felix the Reaper
Life is a death sentence. This cheery unavoidable truth is one that the grim reaper knows all too well. They're the one having to deal with all the 'admin' that comes with our inevitable passing. But as the titular Felix teaches us in this puzzle adventure, the role of reaper doesn't have to be carried out by the typically dark and twisted psychopomp that you may expect.
Instead, Felix is an altogether different bringer of death — approaching the usually morbid job with a certain degree of soul and positivity.
It's with this buoyant and zesty attitude with which you must complete your task of 'helping' people move on from the sullied mortal realm. This duty is executed by way of a series of 3D puzzles, in which you move across a Burton-esque diorama, staying in the shadows at all costs, and altering the environment in subtle but meaningful ways so that the target meets their maker.
Each job is introduced via a short vignette in your field notes — this video attempts to quickly establish the scenario you're about to enter and highlights your target. You'll then find yourself elevated into position, ready to go.
From here, the game is simple enough to grasp: you move around a grid, controlling a sundial to ensure you stay in darkness, all so that you can get into place to carry out the task at hand (be that killing a deer or causing a traffic accident say).
This grid-based gameplay evokes certain comparability to the Hitman Go mobile game — and although Felix the Reaper isn't by definition a stealth experience, the required consideration to your movements to achieve the best result is a welcome similarity.
Now, although the basics may be straightforward enough to understand, the puzzles are not. You'll quickly find yourself up against some real head-scratchers that require methodical thinking, and solid observation of your environment. It's here where the flow of things can be somewhat thwarted, as tricky puzzles and a lacklustre hint system can stymie progress. However, once you gain a greater understanding of the puzzle systems in play, Felix the Reaper has a smattering of rewarding conundrums' to solve.
The 20+ problems on offer also have another layer to them for the particularly perceptive and brisk player. Each level not only has a par for number of moves, time taken, etc but also has a ramped-up difficulty challenge to take on — resulting in plenty to dig into for those seeking an additional test.
On the whole, this is a solid first outing for developer Kong Orange, and although the balance between satisfying puzzle-solving and difficulty hurdles isn't always quite in check, the experience overall is pleasing.
There's enough in this romantic comedy game about life and death to entertain any puzzle fan — without really overstaying its welcome. This all results in a neat indie package with a surprisingly varied soundtrack, plenty of unexpected charm, and tough puzzling to boot.