Why didn’t the skeleton go to the party?
Because, being dead, he had no consciousness, awareness or animating spark of any kind. Furthermore, even if he had, his lack of ligaments or muscle would have rendered him utterly incapable of movement.
None of these issues, however, seem to bother the bony, nameless protagonist of After Death. This skellington-themed Metroidvania, available on Steam, sees you exploring a vast, hostile realm, dispatching all manner of gruesome foes, many of whom also sport a distinct lack of connective tissue.
The game’s grim and pixellated otherworld is reminiscent of Shadow of the Beast and other 90s platform slash-em-ups — After Death makes no bones of its retro influences. Throw in an eerie soundtrack and you’ll find yourself wondering why you don’t have a Sega Megadrive pad in your hands. After Death is far, far more forgiving than the games it seeks to ape though, sporting more modern trappings such as save points and enemies that don’t slaughter you the moment you make contact with them.
After Death employs all the usual metroidvania style tricks, teasingly locking off certain areas until you’ve acquired the appropriate upgrades. While you’re in no danger of drowning due to your lack of lungs, water proves to be an effective barrier until you get your hands on the rather snazzy looking Frost Armour. Then you’re free to ice over the offending pool and waltz across like you haven’t got a worry in the world.
The ability to freeze enemies also comes in handy when you’re facing down enemies, though After Death’s huge, screen spanning bosses are immune to your Sub Zero-esque powers. The two I faced down weren’t hugely taxing once I identified their attack patterns, but my nameless character went through many a second death before I figured them out. That said, the upgrade you acquire each time you beat one will have you grinning with glee as you seek out foes to test it on. And the handy-dandy map ensures that, open as After Death’s world is, you’ll rarely get lost.
It doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, but After Death is still a lot of fun and is particularly likely to appeal if you have fond memories of the 16 bit era of gaming. If the idea of playing as a pantless skeletal badass appeals to you, then After Death is well worth a look.