Let It Die, the off-the-wall free-to-play action game from Suda51, has promised wild combat against bizarre enemies in an outlandish world filled with goofy things to see and outrageous things to do.
Siliconera was invited out to try a recent hands on demo of the nearly-completed game, getting to experience many of the systems that will be in place to help the player in their ascent of the dangerous Tower of Barbs.
Players will begin their journey with a character selection, allowing them to choose from three male and three female characters. There is no fiddling with nose sizes or eye width, as the game only currently offers those six characters and that’s it.
Players looking for a bit more with their customization should note that they’ll be loading these characters up with their choice of equipment, which lets them customize the look of the character in more obvious ways once they get deep enough into the game.
Once the player has chosen a look for themselves, they’ll find themselves meeting Uncle Death, the 3D glasses-wearing, skateboarding Grim Reaper who’ll be their guide and sometimes-helper throughout the game. He’ll offer a little bit of advice through messages he sends, being very supportive of someone who intends to create a large body count.
From there, players are tossed into danger in their underwear, unarmed. The player’s fists will do more than enough damage to take quite a few early foes down, but they’ll still want to get a weapon fast. Enemies drop the weapon they’re using, though, and often some of their equipment, so it won’t be long before players will have some tools to fight and survive with.
These weapons can be just about anything, from fireworks launchers to handheld buzz saws to guns to clothes irons (complete with jets of burning steam). Every weapon has it own ranges, damage effects, and damage types, offering a range of varied fighting styles depending on which ones the player likes.
The player will need to be flexible throughout their journey, though, as all weapons and equipment degrade with use. Use a weapon enough times and it will break permanently, requiring the player grab another one. Three can be equipped on either hand at a given time (swapping between them with the d-pad), though, so players can swap between them quickly should one break in a fight.
Not that being unarmed is terrible, as no matter what the player is fighting with, they will gain experience and new abilities with that weapon. Various levels of weapon mastery can be gained with fists or any weapon, unlocking more attacks and doing more damage as players rely on a given style. Even barehanded can be turned into an effective weapon with a little patience. Experience gained will be given to whichever weapon does the final blow on an enemy, though, so players will want to keep that in mind.
Players will often find themselves facing human-like opponents as they creep through the tower. Knowing how a weapon works will help them beat down these enemies, but it won’t be long before other, stranger creatures appear. These can be amalgamations of body parts, strange robots, flying creatures, and other beasts, keeping combat from getting stale.
Various damage types will also make combat more interesting. Weapons can deal slashing, blunt, piercing, fire, lightning, and poison damage, and most enemies are strong or weak to some of those. Learning the best weapon to use in a situation will go a long way to making the player’s climb up the tower easier.
Making sure the character has the stamina to swing those weapons is important as well. A glowing heart will appear in the player’s chest as they execute attacks and dodge rolls, beating harder the more the player acts. Should this beat hard enough, the player will slump down and come to a complete stop, leaving them vulnerable to attacks.
If the player attacks with care, they can stun an opponent with a flurry of attacks. Once stunned, players can execute a lethal Goretastic attack, killing the enemy with a bloody flourish that is something to behold. These kills showcase the game’s over-the-top sense of humor, showing gory, ridiculous executions that will leave foes in pieces.
Players don’t have to dizzy an opponent to hit them hard, though. As they land hits, they’ll charge a meter that will let them launch high-powered attacks with a button press. They are good for clearing crowds or dealing with tough enemies, and it is recommended to use them often.
Players familiar with the Souls series will be comfortable in this game world, as staying mobile and picking at enemies is an effective way of staying alive. In the same vein, running into multiple foes at once is very dangerous, so taking extreme care and luring foes into optimum battle grounds will help the player survive much longer.
Should the player get hurt, eating some food will help. The problem there is that food comes from living creatures who wander the game’s world, from frogs to scorpions to more dangerous fare. Players can sneak up on these creatures to snag or attack them, as capturing them alive or killing them will have different effects. Eating a captured frog is a quick way to regain some health.
Some animals can be saved to eat later, or must be beaten in the right way to become edible. Fallen animals can also be used to grow mushrooms of various types, some of which heal and others which can be used to create poisonous clouds or explosive flames. Do not mix these up, as the player is allowed to eat deadly mushrooms just as easily as they can a healing one.
All that knowledge won’t keep the player from dying forever, though. Once they go down, they’ll leave behind a Hater on the floor they died on. The Hater holds all of the equipment the player had when they died, so players may want to hunt this character down to get it back. However, Haters are extremely aggressive and hit hard, so players will have to prepare for a dangerous fight to get their gear back.
Players can choose to leave that Hater alone, though, as the Hater will hunt down players in other games, and should it kill them, it will grant the player rewards. It’s up to the player whether the equipment and fighter is worth retrieving, or if the potential mayhem it causes for someone else is more worthwhile.
Players can find some safe spaces in the Tower of Barbs, though, and are able to return to a central hub filled with shops and storage areas should they find an elevator out in the game’s world. It will cost Kill Coins to take it (which most enemies drop), and the cost varies depending on how high up the tower the player is, but they’ll provide a quick means of refuelling. However, all enemies will have respawned when the player takes the elevator back to that floor.
In the central hub, the player will have access to several handy things. Players can level up several stats at the Mingo Head, a bizarre contraption that channels their experience into boosts to a particular ability (strength, dexterity, etc.). They can also store items here, which is useful as the player’s personal inventory only holds twenty items.
Players will also be able to bug Kommodore Suzuki (a man with a strange resemblance to a certain German dictator) for items using their kill coins. The trouble is that he doesn’t have much for sale to start with, as he requires blueprints to create items to sell. It’s not as simple as giving him the blueprints to make the item, either, as each item requires parts to craft it, and then it takes time to complete the item’s construction.
This may sound tedious when the player can just find items and equipment, but those found in the field don’t have anywhere near the durability of a purchased item. Things purchased from Suzuki last far, far longer than found items, so it is in the player’s best interest to take the time to create weapons and armor. Also, the initial items created in this build only took three minutes of real time to build, so it was not a terrible wait.
If players don’t quite have what they need to build something, they can always hope for a free gift from Uncle Death. Sometimes, the Uncle Prime death mobile shows up in this area, bearing a golden box filled with random goodies. These can be weapons, crafting tools, or just about anything players may need.
If players still need more of an edge in the tower, they can visit the Mushroom Magistrate, a striped stripper who’s obsessed with mushrooms. She offers special decals players can buy with skill coins that will give them boosts throughout the tower, like bonuses to stamina or damage. These disappear upon death, though, so don’t expect to keep them forever.
Her obsession with mushrooms means players can trade her special ones for powerful decals, so players will want to look out for special mushrooms. Also, player can partake of her mushroom stew for a special price, which offers decals that the player can keep permanently.
Players are also able to access their stable of fighters from this area. Players are able to keep up to eight fighters in cold storage, grabbing ones of various stat builds depending on who they need to wish to level. These are vital when you’ve lost a fighter, or if the player just wants to try out a different combat style. There’s no risk to creating these fighters as well, as players can choose to get rid of them and get back all of the elements and points they put into creating them.
These extra fighters can also be sent on campaigns against other players. They can be equipped with gear (purchased gear doesn’t degrade on these trips, but found gear will), and sent out after other players. They will appear in the other game with red nameplates, and will create a lot of trouble for whoever they run into. These can just as easily be sent after the player, though, creating a dangerous unpredictability in the tower.
These fighters can also be left to guard the player’s base from attack, as players can ransack the bases of others online. This can cause the loss of some fighters to kidnapping, which requires the player do a revenge raid on that other player to get them back, creating a rivalry between players even if they don’t directly see each other.
All of these things exist without having to touch upon the game’s free-to-play elements. Death Metal is the currency that players can choose to buy with real money, and its use comes from making most elements of the game a little easier.
One Death Metal can be exchanged for 5000 Kill Coins, giving players a quick cash boost should they need it. One can also be used to revive the player in the tower, keeping them from fighting a Hater version of themselves and letting them keep their progress and equipment. Death Metal can also be spent to speed up the build time for items in Suzuki’s shop, and players can spend two of them to get permanent inventory size increases.
Death Metal can also be spent on DH Express, which offers many perks that last over thirty days. It will let players use the Royal Elevator, which gives them access to any floor they like at no cost, and will also give them Royal Slots in their inventory, greatly expanding it (items in these slots will go into a reward box when DH Express expires). They will also be given a special decal every day for the thirty days.
There is no statement on how much Death Metal costs in real world funds as of yet, though, so it is difficult to say how expensive it will be to use these abilities in the game.
The Death Metal abilities only serve to enhance what already appears to be a strong, oddball, challenging game. Players looking for a hard, Souls-like experience with a sense of humor can still derive a great deal of enjoyment from the game without spending any money, and the multiplayer rivalries that will stem from raids will likely pull players back in for more based on pure anger.
Looking to offer a strong, free gameplay experience that its players can enhance with a little cash, Let It Die seems like it will be a fun, difficult, and outlandish action game that fans of Suda51’s previously wild work can enjoy without paying a dime.