There are plenty of games that seem almost designed to ruin friendships: Mario Party. Super Monkey Ball. Scrabble. All have their own charms, pratfalls, and reasons to put the closest person into a headlock (no doubt many a police inquiry has started with ‘they stole my Star’) when a hot streak has gone cold.
Move or Die takes the concept of fast-paced, frenetic action, shovels a boatload of puzzle-like minigames down its throat, and for good measure, supercharges it with a truly interesting game mechanic that quite literally kills you for standing still.
And it works. Beautifully.
Move or Die is a game developed by indie studio Those Awesome Guys. A party game best played on the couch with a group of people, it also features online capability to join lobbies made with randoms. Run, jump, stab, fire, and more as you chase down the coveted golden crown and a victory.
After a surprisingly helpful and quick tutorial giving you insight into the game and how it works, you’re thrust into an AI match where you play through a few modes to really get a feel for everything. If you’re able to focus on a lot of things at once, congratulations, because this game is going to make you prove it.
Falling Blocks will rain red-x death upon you, in a stage loaded with disappearing blocks, springs, and haphazardly-placed platforms. Bomb Tag is an interesting take on Keep Away where a random player is fixed with an explosive and has to bump into other players to pass it on and avoid a fiery demise. Color Craze takes cues from Splatoon where you have to paint the floor (and walls and ceilings if you can reach them) with your character’s color as the clock counts down.
And don’t forget, through it all, keep moving, or you die. Your health rapidly lowers if you standstill, and only recovers as you move—on the ground; jumping does nothing on that front.
Each game nets you points towards your total score, with the winner being crowned at whoever gets 50 points first. Total victory nets you five points, second and third place gets you two, while last awards one. Those Awesome Guys have funny bones, with the wins usually giving out a line applicable to the game (for example, ‘[player] knows how to keep balance’ in Fizzy Floor) in an almost Christian Bale Batman-like cadence.
As you win games, you gain experience, and coins to purchase unlockables like mutators, new modes, and cosmetics (like skins and trails).
Besides outfitting your blob character with new threads, coins are also used to purchase mutators, game-changing power ups that a randomly chosen player can select every few rounds to hopefully turn things in their favor, like giving infinite (but very short) jumps, or slowing down the speed of the leading player while making the last place player a speed demon.
There’s never a dull moment to be found in Move or Die, and even when you’re getting your butt kicked by a stray block or screaming your head off as you run from a rocket at top speed, those with itchy controller fingers will have an incredible time darting to and fro as they adapt to whichever mode the game tosses at them.
While Move or Die does seem to focus on being grind-heavy with many modes and mutators needing to be unlocked with coins, you can enjoy yourself fully even with the bare bones, because the game is always shaking things up, and continually testing the boundaries of friendships and your sanity.
Move or Die (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
Outstanding. Why do you not have this game already?
While it does seem to focus on being grind-heavy with many modes and mutators needing to be unlocked with coins, you can enjoy yourself fully even with the bare bones, because the game is always shaking things up, and continually testing the boundaries of friendships and your sanity.