Have a Nice Death – Review
Follow Genre: 2D action roguelike
Developer: Magic Design Studios
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
Platform: PC, Switch
Reviewed on: Switch

Have a Nice Death – Review

Site Score
Good: Adicitive roguelike, Fun artstyle
Bad: Occasional framedrops
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Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Roguelikes have always had an appeal as video games. Enter a dungeon, upgrade your character, get your ass handed to you, and repeat. Have a Nice Death takes this principle and mixes it in with 2D action platforming to create a fast-paced experience that makes you look at death in a whole new way.


The story of the game follows Death, the CEO of Death Incorporated. As you would expect, Death Incorporated deals with all the people who meet an unfortunate end. At the start of the game, Death is coming close to burnout from all the paperwork due to the insane amount of work his subordinates are delivering. Now, he has to visit the different departments based on ways to die and their bosses, the Sorrows, to set them straight and earn himself some rest.

While there isn’t much development or actual storytelling throughout the game, this setup does feature a fun and overarching theme to make all the levels and boss fights feel like a coherent experience. Most interactions with these Sorrows are a few lines of dialogue focused on throwing in some jokes. Aside from these characters you’ll find some other NPCs, who are only there to deliver quips and tips.


Have a Nice Death features a charming art style that makes you feel like you’re playing through a Tim Burton movie. All characters and worlds feature beautiful 2D graphics screaming with personality. Each Sorrow is perfectly designed and clearly represents the world it is chaperoning. This all delivers a memorable experience.

While it is in sync with the theme of death and the world of Death Incorporated, the mostly black and white color pallet does get old after some hours and beg for some more color. Luckily, some of the later levels feature more color, but it depends on your skill on when you will be getting there. While the performance is good overall, there are some frame drops when entering the level or when there are a lot of enemies on screen. Luckily this is nothing game-breaking but it can cause some frustration.


Along with a fun and quirky visual style comes a matching soundtrack. Every department in the game features its own collection of songs that will have you bopping your head while narrowly avoiding deadly attacks. Each level and boss puts its own spin on it, from a corporate elevator sound collection to songs inspired by the Adams Family. Always retaining the fun and lighthearted feeling that is present throughout the game.

There isn’t much voice acting to speak of since all characters speak in a gibberish language akin to The Sims or Animal Crossing. This adds yet again to the fun atmosphere and some songs even feature this gibberish.


Being a 2D action roguelike, Have a Nice Death features a lot of gameplay mechanics that are expected of a game in this genre. Fast-paced action, multiple upgrading systems, and many game-overs are prominent throughout the entire playthrough of the game. Death fights his way through a plethora of departments, cutting through the Sorrows and their minions.

While this does sound like a big undertaking, you won’t have to face these enemies alone. Death always has his trusty scythe at his side to unleash devastating combos. This will be your main weapon throughout each run of the game. Later on, even alternate versions of the scythe can be unlocked like a heavy version that deals extra damage or a ranged weapon. Aside from this main weapon are a collection of spells and special attacks that can be equipped. These spells are found during a playthrough and can vary from level to level. From a swarm of hungry wasps to a big lance raining down from the sky, finding and equipping the right spells is crucial to successfully defeat the onslaught of enemies.

As mentioned above, all enemies are part of a department, themed after a certain cause of death. Each of these departments consists of a number of floors that you have to fight your way through from elevator to elevator. On these floors, you’ll also find Soulary, one of the game’s currencies. This will be used to upgrade weapons and spells, or unluck other bonuses like extra healing items.

The game wouldn’t be a roguelike if you weren’t dying more often than reaching the end of a level, and Have a Nice Death certainly isn’t shying away from this. When you are faced with the feared Game Over screen, you’ll get sent back to Death’s office without your weapons and Soulary. At this point, you’re ready to try again. But aside from the knowledge you gained, you also earn levels after each failed run to unlock permanent bonuses, like starting a playthrough with extra healing items or skipping the first few floors. Your performance is also judged, which earns you ingots. This is a second currency that is used to unlock more items and spells to make each run easier and more versatile.

All these gameplay mechanics and the overall variety work together to form a fun and addicting gameplay loop. Dying and starting over feels fun because you’re constantly improving your skills and equipment, which makes it so much more satisfying to finally beat the boss you’ve been stuck on.


Have a Nice Death delivers fun and charming roguelike gameplay that will keep you coming back for more. While the repeated process of dying and starting over isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, people looking for a challenging experience will definitely be satisfied. Further enhanced by a great atmosphere, this game may be hard to master, but it’s even harder to put down.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

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