Death’s Gambit: Afterlife is a fun 2D side scroller. It is a remake of the original Death’s Gambit. Afterlife brings the elements of old-school SNES and Genesis platformers while also providing a more recent and darker storyline. This RPG style Metroidvania is extremely creative with its characters, background design, and bosses.
The game starts with your main character dying, making a deal with Death to come back to life and fulfill Death’s mission, not unlike Spawn. You can choose multiple combat styles, all resulting in different play experiences based on what you choose. The same is true about the weapon you start with.
You travel across Siradon (medieval-type land), killing enemies and trying to collect new weaponry. At every save point (there are a fair amount), you also have the option to level up and boost up your stats. The combat is a little limited, but the animation on some weapon attacks is well done. I do wish there was more detail for the deaths of the enemies instead of them just vanishing, but the fighting itself is fun.
Death’s Gambit: Afterlife is entertaining, and the combat is fine but what really stands out are the creative designs. Despite being a 2D platform at 32 bit, I was blown away by the creativity of the characters and the landscape. Instead of the traditional depiction of Death (with hood and scythe), they made this one a crow that’s partially a skeleton. The cut scenes with him (as well as the bosses you fight) emphasize the detail on these characters and how imaginative their designs are. On top of providing some direction, Death also drops some funny commentary across the adventure while directing you to your next objective.
The gameplay is a pretty standard Metroidvania, shooting, kicking, slashing. I will say that a major downfall is the lack of instructions at the beginning of the game and the start screen help menu leaves a lot to be desired. I found myself dying a couple of times at the beginning of the game until I could figure out how to properly use my weapons.
All in all, I was thoroughly impressed with the storyline as well as the design. For someone who doesn’t play 2D platformers on modern systems that frequently, I was hooked on Death’s Gambit: Afterlife. The bosses and layouts also got infinitely more innovative as the game went on.