I’m a massive fan of roguelite games and as a result I’ve played a ton of them. Over the course of playing and evaluating these type of games I’ve come to a realization. I find that the key to a good roguelite game is summed up by a single question: “How enjoyable is the experience going from an insignificant pest to basically becoming a God in the world?” So how does Death or Treat fair under that criteria?
Let’s dive into it.
Death or Treat was released on May 11, 2023. It was it available for all platforms. I was provided a review code.
In Death or Treat you play as Scary the Ghost, a resident of Hallowtown. When big business threatens your town’s way of life it’s up to you to fight back. The narrative isn’t the main focus of this game, but it’s a cute story that sets the stage well for the gameplay.
Like many games of this genre, In Death or Treat, you start off lacking power and the difficulty can be quite high, but as you progress you slowly become more powerful than your foes. The game plays similarly to games like Rogue Legacy 2 and Have a Nice Death. This is an action hack-and-slash game with platforming sidescrolling elements. Imagine the combat of Super Smash Bros, but as a sidescrolling adventure game and you’d get the concept.
The gameplay itself is engaging, addicting, and enjoyable. You have a jump button, a light attack, a heavy attack, special attacks, and aerial attacks at your disposal. There’s a nice diversity of enemies that you encounter including bosses that have their own personalities and movesets. The boss fights have a bit of a difficulty spike, but once you get used to their patterns you can take them down.
This game’s upgrade path involves collecting materials from fallen foes. Once you collect these materials you use them to build shops in your Halloween town and then buy upgrades from said shops. You can buy a solid variety of weapons, and special move upgrades from the shops. The weapons ranged from bats, magic wands, swords, and a chainsaw. The town is a creative skill tree system that lets you build the playstyle that you want.
Easily the best aspect of the game is its art direction. The artstyle is gorgeous and detailed. The Halloween-like characters were well crafted featuring smooth and fluid movements.
The environments are well designed with every area feeling like a mixture of vibes between those old-school monster movies and our modern-day civilization. I loved the monster version of our modern-day references that are featured throughout the game. There are references to clothing lines, apps, food chains, and even billionaires in the game that add a bit of fun personality to the scenery. Honestly, the art is so well done that it made me want to see what an animated movie by this team would look like.
The game has an eerie soundtrack that is right at home with the game’s overall vibe.
Unfortunately, I did run into some freezing issues. This happened during a loading screen or when I beat a boss and had the option to choose an upgrade or more spending points. When this occurred I had to restart the game. It boots up quickly so not the biggest deal in the world, but it is a mild annoyance.
The upgrade path of the game can feel a bit tedious compared to the reward system in Rogue Legacy or the constant upgrades you get when you do a run in Hades. The crafting material drops are random, and it can be a couple of runs before you get the materials that you’re looking for to upgrade specific things. While the gameplay is fun, this aspect can make the game feel a bit repetitive.
I also ran into a few instances where the enemies would get stuck into place. This bug was a lot rarer than the freezing issue, but it does happen occasionally.
Overall/Should You play Death or Treat:
This is a very solid roguelite with an amazing artstyle and engaging gameplay. If you like Rogue Legacy 2 or Dead Cells you’ll probably enjoy this game. Unfortunately, the bugs and freezing issue hampers what is a very enjoyable experience. Are these things that can be patched up? Yes, but as things stand currently those issues keeps Death or Treat from realizing its full potential. Overall even though it has its warts Death or Treat is a Halloween-themed game that Roguelite fans should check out.
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Other Similar games that you should Check out:
Cult of the Lamb: https://pronerdreport.com/game-reviews/cult-of-the-lamb-review/
Rogue Legacy 2: https://pronerdreport.com/game-reviews/rogue-legacy-2-review/
Have a Nice Death Review: https://pronerdreport.com/game-reviews/have-a-nice-death-review/