As much as I want to say how well handled Valves’ Steam service is, it does have some major problems due to Steam Greenlight and Early Access causing the service to have more shovelware than the Wii and more abusive control from the developers than normal. However, that is for another time since today’s game, Life Goes On, is one of the best examples of a fantastic game from the Steam service. Let us jump right in and take a look.
There really isn’t a story for this game, so let us move onto the gameplay! Life Goes On is a puzzle platformer where you guide an endless supply of knights to the end of the level to obtain a golden goblet. However, spikes, gravity, fire, ice, a furball monster named Jeff, and many other traps are getting in your way for the prize. So, how do you get a hold of such a well-guarded treasure? Well, I did mention you have an unlimited supply of knights. How about you use them? That is the main gimmick of the game. Instead of using these mass amounts of knights in a style similar to Lemmings, you are basically told to kill them by making them into platforms or ledges to grab onto to get to your destination.
Most of the time, you will be required to use said knights as platforms as you kill them by impaling those unfortunate knights on the spikes. You will even need to use them to keep buttons pressed down so you can get past other deadly traps. The main difficulty curves come in the form of challenges. The game’s 50 levels have a set challenge of how many knights you should use to complete the level. For example, one level will have you wanting to only use three knights, or another level will want you to use five. Of course, the level isn’t over if you exceed these numbers, but it is interesting to see if you can stay within that limit. There is also a little side challenge where you must feed one of your knights to a fuzzy little creature of unknown origins named Jeff. The levels also have time limits, which is more for speed runs than actual time limits, which will kill you if you take too long. The game, like I said, has 50 levels and the puzzles get a little more complex as you go through each world and its set of levels. You can either use a controller or a keyboard, and a keyboard works very well if you don’t have a PC specific controller.
While not the most super-amazing looking game out there, the game does look nice. The animations of the knights are smooth, and they give off some personality. The music is very catchy and well composed. It gives off a quirky medieval fantasy vibe, and it fits for this kind of game where killing your horde of knights is the key to victory. The game just has a lot of charm in its presentation, and it keeps me playing the game for many levels before I rip myself from the keyboard to continue on with the game of life.
However, even if this game has a lot of pros, it has a few cons that don’t hinder the experience, but are downsides to playing this game. Even with the new gimmicks, the levels get a little repetitive. There is nothing that breaks up the puzzle-solving gameplay, which is a shame. They could have easily taken cues from WayForward’s A Boy and his Blob or Capcom’s Zack & Wiki, and had some creative puzzle-like boss fights at the end of each world. While I don’t agree with the criticism that this game is too simple, I can see why some people would find that a turn-off. The game is very easy to get into, and the puzzles are easy to understand, but I think once you get into the later levels, you will be happy that the game doesn’t get too complex or overly complicated where to the point it becomes an annoying experience.
Final Verdict: One of the best indie games around
I really fell in love with this indie game, and I was happy to find out about it a few days before release after seeing some YouTube videos about it. The game is available for $13 on Steam, and for a puzzle game that has a fun, but dark sense of humor, I would highly recommend you buy it to support this indie developer. It shows that even though Steam’s Early Access and Greenlight have been filled with mediocre titles, you can still find that one diamond in the rough.