If you've ever read any books in the Discworld series, you're probably familiar with the character of Death. Serving as the book's grim reaper, he also has a unique personality AND TALKS LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME. Having a grim reaper with a personality is important, and Felix the Reaper manages to do this despite the titular Felix's muteness. Using the power of dance to slide his way across the map, is Felix shaping up to be another great puzzle game, or should this toe-tapping skeleton be silenced?
The basic goal of the game is that Felix needs to quietly set up accidents to kill somebody, usually in ways so convoluted that they would make Jigsaw blush. To do this, he has to completely stick to the shadows, only traveling along surfaces blocked by the sun. Felix has two abilities to help him with this. First, he can change the position of the sun, altering which direction the shadows are facing and giving him new areas to move. Second, Felix can pick up and drop objects, which lets him create new shadows. Using these two abilities, Felix will commit some cha-cha slaying.
While Felix never says a word (at least not in the preview I played), he is a wonderfully expressive character thanks to some great animation work. Every single action Felix takes is in dance. Ask him to move a step forward, and he does so with a smooth slide. Point him somewhere five blocks down, and Felix will do a complicated flip and spin movement. Even as he stands, Felix is just grooving, tapping his toes and dancing in place. It makes it feel like he has a genuine personality, a fun character who ranks up there with Discworld's Death as highly rated reapers.
While Felix may be a lot of fun, Felix the Reaper's gameplay is a bit too simple early on. With the exception of adding switches in a few levels, the above description covers the preview build in full. The five levels I got to play didn't feature much variation, just different simple scenarios that showed off the basic mechanics. Of course, these also appear to be the first five levels in the game so the later levels will most likely get a bit more in-depth. It's a bit too simple right now, and I wanted to find myself challenged by unique mechanics by the end of the demo.
There are definitely a few quality of life issues that need to be solved. The biggest is that, at the current time, the game doesn't make it clear which direction the sun will turn the first time you press the "turn sun" button. This means, without fail, I always had to take a hit each level just so I could learn which way the sun would turn the first time. It's an absolutely massive issue in a game that relies entirely on this mechanic, and hopefully, one that can be fixed up in the future.
Still, despite its current simplicity and issues, it's hard to deny that there's not a lot of charm to be had playing Felix the Reaper. The art style works well, with the humans looking more ghastly than the groovy grim reaper claiming their lives. Great animations really cement the frolicking Felix's moves to your memory. The game's bopping beats are also a plus, with various techno tunes giving you a good jaunty jam. I was completely engrossed in the artistic and musical package here, and I can see it doing wonders winning over players.
Felix the Reaper needs work. The game's puzzles could do with being more complicated and the mechanics need more fine tuning to be player friendly. Felix the Reaper will hopefully keep seeing improvements as development continues, and I'll be keeping my eye on it. Everything about this game really attracts my attention, and I can't wait for its full release so I can dive in and see how it really performs. If Felix keeps practicing his moves, he'll be ready for prime time.
An early build of Felix the Reaper was sent to TechRaptor by the developers for the purposes of this article. The game is scheduled for a 2018 release.