Just Die Already
When Goat Simulator burst onto the scene in 2014, it unwittingly gave birth to the physics based, mayhem sandbox genre. You know the one; your main aim is to cause as much destruction as possible, all the while fighting against controls, and the lighter side of gravity. Fast forward to 2021 and Just Die Already from Swedish developer DoubleMoose arrives onto the scene with a similar premise, but instead of a psychotic goat causing mischief, four elderly avatars take the mantle with one goal in mind – to die in a spectacularly violent manner.
At A Glance
|Positives||+ Great premise|
|+ Potty humour|
|+ Comedic visuals kept me entertained|
|Negatives||– Bucket list surprisingly dull to complete|
|– Glitchy to the point of unplayable|
|– Lack of soundtrack|
|Our Playtime||8 hours|
|Available On||PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC|
Just Die Already revolves around a humorous concept – old people get bored of life and want to check out in as fun a way as possible. And to begin with, it’s remarkably fun. JDA’s opening tutorial surrounds breaking out of the retirement home during some old fart’s birthday party, and after learning the controls and thoroughly ruining the day, I was left to my own devices. The objective couldn’t be clearer, kill yourself repetedly. This ranges from getting run over to, getting sliced by sword wielding monks when entering their monastery and everything in between.
To give Just Die Already some form of purpose to the proceedings, DoubleMoose has given a Bucket List of objectives to complete. Most revolve around dying in some horrible form or another or dragging unsuspecting NPCs into your antics, but there are the odd puzzles to complete too, just to spice things up. The puzzles range from shooting some hoops, to matching a diagram on a door by mutilating the OAP. As these challenges are scratched off the to-do list, they grant you various unlockables that you can pick up from vending machines scattered around the world, which felt a bit strange, I have to say. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen an elderly person use a vending machine before – let alone collect an uzi out of one. Anyway, more areas open up as you explore the city and more objectives are added to the bucket list. There’s also a PVP mode where you can take on the to-do list, and each other, together. It did strike me that for someone who wants to check out of life so badly, the ever growing list certainly prolonged death for our oldies.
The challenges presented seemed straightforward, but there is one big blocker – the head of the care home if you will – trying to stop the fun… The controls. As with Goat Simulator, Just Die Already has awkward controls by design, and while this is done deliberately for the four-legged nuisance, I’m not so sure this is the case with JDA. The controls were fighting me every step of the way. Every time I climbed a ladder, there was an awkward sequence of button presses, often resulting in falling to the bottom and having to start again. Weapon controls, especially for the two handed variety, weren’t much better as they were uncoordinated to the point they verged on useless, and that’s before I went in for an attack! But the biggest problem comes in the form of respawning. When I became a literal pound of flesh and had to restart, a button press took me to the nearest bin – or trash can for our American readers. To get out was supposed to be a quick press of the jump button, but in reality this turned into hammering ‘Triangle’ and manipulating the OAP into positions that a 20-year-old contortionist would be proud of.
This wouldn’t be so frustrating if restarts were uncommon, but Just Die Already makes it all too easy for limbs and heads to fly off, quickly resulting in the pensioner becoming a torso flopping around in the middle of the street. Though this did lead to the most joyous part of JDA; the visuals. The cartoony style of the game meant that the fountains of blood spewing from every freshly cut orifice was always a joy to behold. There’s very little music in the game; I only heard people shouting and cars honking as I blocked up the road with carnage, but no matter how silent the game was, or how annoying I was finding the controls, the appearance of a pensioner running, holding his own head like a pumpkin, always brought a smile to my face.
Just Die Already sounds amazing on paper; old people foregoing common sense and wanting to end their lives in the most over the top way imaginable. The overall look of the game is hilarious and there is some fun to be found in short bursts. It’s just a shame that the controls, as deliberately janky as they appeared to be, are so unforgiving to the point that they spoil the experience and sapped all of the energy from the game. The destruction that was caused by trying to complete the ever growing to-do list should have been hilarious, but it became more of a chore to endure rather than anything enjoyable.
In the interest of full disclosure, the publisher provided VGamingNews with a copy of the game in order to conduct this review.