177. That’s the number of times Collect or Die’s nefarious levels managed to kill me before I finished the game. I was impaled by falling spikes, rent by spinning saw blades, and even disintegrated by lasers. And you know what? It was glorious.
Retro platformer Collect or Die casts you as a naive test subject in an old scientific research facility. You’re participating in some rather unique experiments, and the goal is simple: collect all the coins without getting chopped into a million pieces. It’s mildly irritating that there’s not a lick of context given for your situation and I would have appreciated some backstory, but it’s a small nitpick and doesn’t damage the experience.
Each level features a number of coins scattered about, but they’re surrounded by increasingly creative implements of death. Collect or Die does a commendable job of not only slowly introducing new obstacles, but also layering them together to create interesting — and terrifying — challenges. You’ll see the same first-stage spike pit in the last stage, but it’ll be accompanied by rotating blades, twirling lasers, and other awful hurdles.
There’s an admirable amount of effort expended to make sure you die, and it’ll happen to even the best players. Death isn’t all bad, though; it’s both a learning experience and a show. I felt more prepared each time I died, and the process of dying always managed to bring a smile to my face. Collect or Die’s ragdoll physics, along with a gobs of blood and crisp visuals, take most of the frustration out of the equation.
We’re at the point now where I have to mention that Collect or Die uses tilt controls. You’ll tap to jump, but side to side movement requires precise tilting, and I know that’s probably going to disappoint many of you. But don’t fret: the controls are surprisingly tight and responsive, though I did have to turn the sensitivity down to the lowest setting. I might have had a few deaths caused by the controls, but I’m convinced the majority were my fault.
Other than the lack of backstory, my only real complaint about Collect or Die is how quickly it was over. I finished all 40 levels in just under an hour and I can’t say that didn’t disappoint me. However, there are supposedly more levels incoming, and there’s always high score chasing. Completionists will want to collect all three badges associated with each level, and considering how insane the required completion times are, that should provide plenty of entertainment.
Above all, Collect or Die does an excellent job of maintaining a wide appeal. There’s plenty of replayability for the hardcore crowd, but it’s not so difficult that less-skilled players can’t finish it. And if you hate dying over and over and over, you might find that it’s not such a horrible experience here — I’m not sure I’ve ever so thoroughly enjoyed being ripped apart.
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Collect or Die is an enjoyable platformer that uses ragdoll physics and plenty of blood to make death a hilarious experience. It's a little on the short side, but it's an approachable title that offers something to novices and pros alike.