App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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"Sometimes you die." Oh yes. Anyone that plays video games even occasionally is intimately familiar with this bit of gospel. And they know the point of any game is to not die - to survive, to plug on, to stave off death until the day is saved, and the princess is rescued.
Or is it?
Sometimes You Die by Kamibox is a puzzle/platforming game driven by a macabre concept: not only is death inevitable, it's downright necessary for anyone that wants to get ahead in this stark, weird experience. Succeeding in Sometimes You Die literally requires the player to build bridges, staircases, and barriers out of corpses.
There are several rooms in Sometimes You Die. Each one is laced with traps like spiked floors and buzzsaws. When the player dies, the soulless shell of their "guy" permanently lies inert. If enough guys die, the player may be able to build a safe passage over a trapped floor or even create safe steps up the side of a spiked wall. Then it's off to the next room.
Luckily, there's an unlimited supply of (ahem) warm bodies, so players can absolutely litter the floor if they wish. It's a bit like playing with those jungle ants that purposefully drown themselves so their comrades can gain dry passage over small rivers. Sometimes said bodies can actually impede progress through narrow passages, so it pays to kill in moderation. Too many corpses spoil the broth and all that.
As might be expected from a game that commands the player to kill some so that others might live, Sometimes You Die features a computerized voice that follows from room to room. It wants to know: what makes this experience a game? Is there any guarantee the AI will honor the rules it seemingly has laid down? What if the app simply decided to make itself unwinnable?
It all comes across as a bit heavy-handed at first, though it soon becomes apparent Sometimes You Die has a sharp, albeit dark, sense of humor. One puzzle even involves a jab at in-app purchases that's borderline brilliant.
Sometimes You Die is pretty easy to whip through, however. Its puzzles aren't difficult to solve, with the exception of a few near the end of the game. It's short, but to be fair part of its briskness comes from the fact the player probably won't put it down until they get through it all and get their reward. After all, the voice talks about a reward, and a disembodied computer voice would never lie.