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101 Ways To Die review

We give our verdict on the physics-based puzzler from Four Door Lemon.

Credit: Four Door Lemon

I previewed 101 Ways To Die back in January using a PC build of the game. At the time I likened the game to a backwards Lemmings and felt the game had potential for puzzle fans. Now the game is out on PC as well as Xbox One and PS4.

A crazy game needs a bizarre story and 101 Ways To Die doesn’t disappoint. A mad Professor called Ernst Splattunfuder has completed a compendium of death recipes which he calls 101 Ways To Die. In order to discover these different ways to kill he has created creatures called Splatts that he experiments on. One day one of his mindless creations detonates a bomb and his entire research is destroyed. The player is hired by Splattunfunder to come in and repeat his experiments to rediscover the 101 Ways To Die.

The game is divided up into groups of levels and each is a test chamber for you to conduct your experiments. They start out rather simple but increase in complexity as you progress. Each level is essentially a physics playground that contains one or more entry points for the Splatts and an exit. Your are given you a set number of Splatts for each experiment and also a limit for how many can escape. Ultimately your task is to stop them escaping by killing them first, as creatively as possible.

Credit: Four Door Lemon

Credit: Four Door Lemon

Before the Splatts enter a test chamber there is a special plotting mode. Here you can place a variety of traps such as bombs, cannons, mines, bumpers and slime. Certain traps can be given a direction in which to trigger, so for example you might want a bumper to knock a Splatt into a bunch of spikes. Some traps once placed, such as a cannon or mine, can be manually triggered by the player. It’s key to learn how each trap works and how long any delays are, such as a bomb timer, that prevent them from activating.

When Splatts spawn they attempt to make their way to the exit. They move very slowly but are not quite as dumb as they look as they can avoid certain obstacles such as spikes by jumping over them. Most of the time thought they just walk blindly to their deaths and when they don’t you’re there to give them a helping hand. Once you’ve setup your deathtrap there’s a handy speed-up button which makes Splatts move a little faster.

Each level has a set of Graduate objectives that you need to meet in order to pass a level. To fully complete a level and claim all the available stars you also need to satisfy any Master objectives. So for example killing a set number of Splatts might be sufficient to pass but Master objectives might require you to kill them in a set way.

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Killing the Splatts is simple enough but doing it the way the Master objectives requires can take a little head scratching.  Sometimes you might need to combine traps in order to create a combo kill. For example you might have to use a bumper or two to bounce a Splatt into a mine or set of spikes, have them slip on slime into a lava pit or even stun them so they can be crushed to death by falling objects. Getting these special kills for the first time also awards you with one of the 101 Ways To Die pages.

Watching the little Splatts walk to their deaths is actually rather funny at times. When one escapes I couldn’t help but have another go to make sure they all died the next time. Some players might not be keen on the idea of just killing the Splatts for fun.

The game starts easy but gradually ramps up in difficulty. It’s a little too slow at times and suffers from a lack of atmosphere. I didn’t experience any of the crashes with the review build that I saw in the preview build.

101 Ways To Die is a decent little puzzler that can be quite addictive in short bursts. If you enjoy puzzles and prefer slower paced games that allow you time to think then it’s probably worth your time.

101 Ways to Die was reviewed using a digital code supplied by Four Door Lemon.

Check out the trailer for the game below:

Developer: Four Door Lemon Release Date: March 22, 2016 Age Rating: 12 Reviewed On: Xbox One Also available on: PS4, PC/Steam

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