Life Goes On is a morbid but incredibly creative puzzle-platformer with a simple but charming aesthetic. However, the time it takes to complete Life Goes On may disappoint those who swiftly go through the levels, and the sound assets do not fit the overall aesthetic of the title.
In this medieval themed platformer, you play as an endless number of knights who are willing to die… in excruciatingly painful ways. You see, in this game, you solve puzzles by using the lifeless bodies of all the knights who get stabbed, burned, and electrocuted. You can’t get over a layer of spikes, you say? Just let one knight be a stepping stone on the way to the next platform. Do you want to open a door but it’s locked by a lack of an electrical current? Let the knight get thrown into a switch and release the electricity through him. The puzzles, while morbid, are developed in ways which consistently change up the formula with each level and become satisfying to figure out. The end result, Life Goes On is an incredibly creative game and Infinite Monkeys Entertainment should be commended for switching up the mechanics time and time again.
However, as unique as this game is, Life Goes On only has 50 or so levels that can each be beaten in a matter of minutes, for which you will have to pay a premium of $12.99. Life Goes On will take you two to three hours to finish (which may be too short for some) but Infinite Monkeys Entertainment have included extra challenges. For example, with each level, they ask you to try to kill as few knights as possible, and find a difficult path to reach a furry monster called Jeff who gulps a knight immediately in close proximity. These inclusions are welcome but may not stretch the two to three hour playthrough of Life Goes On for those who aren’t completionists.
While lacking in graphic fidelity, Life Goes On manages to maintain a well established design to its characters and locations. The use of shadows and lighting in the background make this game feel vibrant, and the animation for the knights looks just right with each heavy footed clumsy step. In my playthrough as well, I did not come across any frame rate drop or issues with control feedback. This game also has a sense of dark humor in its presentation. From the victory screen to the exaggerated deaths, Life Goes On has a dark sense of humor like the Worms series, or the recently released multiplayer first person shooter Loadout, but sadly, it did not make me laugh out loud. The art of Life Goes On matches the level design and whacky animations as well with the game’s Tim Burton and Double Fine-esque environments, and syncs up well with the aesthetic and atmosphere that Life Goes On is trying to reach.
However, the music of Life Goes On does not match with the quirky nature of its gameplay and aesthetic. While the knights are being slain one after the next in animating ways, the themes have a unfitting mellow undertone. The soundtrack contains pleasant pieces of music to listen to but it simply does not match up. Instead, a somewhat disturbing soundtrack with a sense of upbeat adventure within would have been perfect. Some examples of previous soundtracks that evoke Life Goes On‘s attempted atmosphere would be Luigi’s Mansion‘s main theme, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess‘ Midna’s Lament, and Kingdom Hearts 2‘s Sacred Moon. Life Goes On also feels empty with its sound design as well. There are no rumbles of machinery, growls from the monster Jeff or drops of cavern water dropping onto the ground. The lava levels contain a prevalent sound of rushing magma but overall, this game feels empty despite the inspired world design.
Life Goes On has ill-matched sound assets and may be too short for those who aren’t completionists but Infinite Monkeys Entertainment have been able to make up for these fault with inventive level design that twists the formula of the puzzle platformer, an interesting graphical style and a few extra challenges to encourage replay ability.