Flash Friday: No-one has to Die

I’ve been meaning to talk about this game for a while. `I remember first playing it back in 2013, almost 4 years ago now shortly after it was released on Kongregate. Story games, especially those not represented through the point-and-click genre(which I hate, but that’s a topic for another day) were rare to say the least. Maybe that’s how the game managed to impress me so much despite how little of the game there is. No-one has to Die is a unique game to say the least and after replaying it for what I think is the third or fourth time, I think I’m ready to give it a review. Although there isn’t much to talk about, I’m going to try to make this review as detailed as possible. But nevertheless, No-one has to Die that is experienced hands on and this review may not serve it justice. Anyway, let’s get on with the review.

In No-one has to Die, you play the role of the most unfortunate delivery guy or girl in the world. You walk into the building of a large company to deliver some stationary only to find two dead security guards and a security system as well as realising that the building you are now in is on fire. At least, that’s what the game tells you. Most of the story is told by way of exposition through the characters who use a chat system connected to the company to communicate with each other. In most games, this would be quite a dull and uninventive way of storytelling but it strangely works in No-one has to Die. It makes you feel like a stranger completely out of the loop(haha, story joke, you’ll get it when you play the game) which, well, you are. Somehow, the combination of good writing and mysterious music keeps you hooked and invested in everything that’s going on.

There are small bursts of straightforward gameplay that tie directly into the course of the story. As the one controlling all the security systems, you’re the one tasked with helping the ragtag group of employees working late escape the burning building by performing riveting tasks such as… locking doors, turning levers and somehow using your mind control abilities to move the employees directly. This is all explained away as being a feature of the security system you’re using but still… that doesn’t answer the question of how you can move the characters. Moving on, these puzzles are shockingly easy, even for my dumb brain which is saying something and scarcely take longer than a minute to figure out. Yet, they are still satisfying to complete and every action you take feels impactful knowing the lives of all these well-written characters are in your hands.

Unfortunately, despite your best attempts, not everyone will be able to make it out alive. Sometimes, you’ll have to choose one over the other. Choosing one life over another is something pretty much no-one wants to do. If that’s what god has to do every day then I can understand why he doesn’t really make himself known. No-one has to die has a philosophical question hidden behind it, involving time, consciousness, the human soul and how our actions affect ours and everyone else’s lives, even if the exact question may not be all that clear. The story is cleverly written with lots of twists and turns and hidden meanings that only make sense and come together once you reach the end, which isn’t all that hard considering it can easily be completed in around twenty minutes.

Upon completing your first playthrough you’ll be presented with a small timeline. Easy to navigate, it allows you to select different parts of the game where you could of made a different decision to alter the course of the story. Eventually, upon discovering all endings, you’ll gain access to a final timeline where everything comes together and is wrapped up in a neat little bow. The true ending is nothing short of epic and actions that may have seemed odd and illogical before now make sense. As well as that, I think the creator did a good job of predicting what paths most people would take in what order. You can choose which endings you complete in whatever order you want but I found myself completing the endings in the orders most directly connected with each other if that makes any sense.

I’ve covered about every aspect of the game now. The puzzle system doesn’t really need an extensive explanation as staring at the interface for around twenty seconds should be enough for everything to click into place. No-one has to Die definitely goes for a quality over quantity approach. Although incredibly short, I enjoyed every second of No-one has to Die and found myself growing attached or at the very least being intrigued by each of the characters in seconds. A lot of work was definitely put into the smaller details and for that, No-one has to Die is to be commended, and if not for that, for its unique concept. Invest about a third of an hour into this game and you won’t regret it. You may even find that no-one has to die. Well… except those two security guards no-one cares about.

Pros:

  • Well-written
  • Great character sprites
  • Easy to understand interface
  • Multi-layered characters
  • Mind-blowing ending
  • Unique concept
  • Awesome music
  • Free

Cons:

  • Puzzle’s are ridiculously easy
  • It’s never explained how you can control characters
  • Shorter than a babies’ little finger

Verdict: 8/10

Play the game for free here: http://www.kongregate.com/games/stustuthebloo/no-one-has-to-die

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