Auro:A Monster-Bumping Adventure - HighrezGaming

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Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure / 27th of April 2016

I haven’t played enough games with a dark sense of humour. Many people see black comedy as taboo while as I just see it as a way of making fun of things in life that could get you down. Games are a great platform for this, one of the best games for comedy I have played was Portal and that was filled to the brim with dark comedy! In comes Life Goes On, a platform-puzzle game that focuses upon you using the bodies of your dead knights to solve puzzles, so it’s off to a great start then!

The story is rather minimalist which I find to be a good thing. You are a king of… some sort, who wants to gain eternal life by finding an artefact known as the Cup of Life. In order to find it you will send legions upon legions of willing knights through portals that place them in puzzles disguised as caves, dungeons and other such worlds. Your goal is to reach the end of each level by picking up the seemingly fake Cup of Life and move onto the next one. The humour is what makes this simple story effective as we are seemingly placed in a type of fantasy ‘epic’ with brave knights and great lands to explore and yet the game has a huge sense of self awareness. From the constant cattle references for the poor knights to the seemingly random insertion of a monster called Jeff in each level, the game made me giggle on multiple occasions, even when I probably shouldn’t have been.
Life Goes On also happens to look quite nice too. It has a simple layer of cartoony graphics with the knights looking like they have contracted Rayman syndrome. While the colour pallet does tend to stick to the darker and more drab colours due to the fact that a lot of the puzzles are in caves and dungeons there is a great amount of variety in the environments of each different world. They are all themed to a different area and you traverse each one on a very quaint ye old map of sorts. It reminded me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail of all things from the funny character designs and seeming lack of awareness the knights have. The music isn’t anything spectacular (except for that stage completion song, I did feel quite epic every time I won) but it certainly fits and does the job it needs to do which is fair enough for me. The game overall seems to give off a cute vibe even though what you are actually doing is really quite morbid.

And onto the gameplay, of course. The game follows a strict succession of puzzles as you go through each world. Each puzzle is self-contained and you must reach the goal at the end in order to progress to the next stage. In order to get past certain puzzles, you need to use the dead bodies of your seemingly infinite supply of poor, unaware knights to your advantage. For example, if there is a spike pit in front of you and you need to reach the other side you simply would need to throw your knight into the pit, killing them, summoning another knight from the checkpoint and using the deceased knight’s body as a platform for you to jump on and reach the other side. The conundrums start off relatively simple, however, as time goes on more and more new mechanics are added and the puzzles actually get incredibly tough at times. I was left scratching my head at various points, however I never felt truly lost as after analysing the situation properly I always found the solution, which really points to how well the puzzles have been designed. To give yourself an extra challenge however, there is the aforementioned Jeff monster who appears on each stage in a difficult to reach place. By sacrificing one of your knights to him you will collect him for that stage, an added bonus for those completionists out there. There is also a challenge per puzzle which sets you a certain time to beat the problem in and only using a certain amount of dead knights. It will help to add some replayability to the game and also adds some cute cosmetics for your knights to wear, though they seemingly have no impact on actual gameplay.
Really the only major problem I have with Life Goes On is that the collision detection and controls seem slightly off at times. At various points I would grab onto ledges that I didn’t want to grab which messed up some of my puzzles. Even worse though was trying to manoeuvre my character on top of dead bodies and I felt like my direct control over the character was a bit off and felt a bit too slippery. Many times this led to me falling into spike pits when I had a perfectly usable platform or smacking my character’s head against a spike wall when I was gripping onto another corpse. While this is frustrating at times due to you having unlimited knights at your disposal it wasn’t too much of an issue.

Did this game keep my interest? Indeed it did. I enjoyed the sense of humour it had and I found the puzzles to be challenging yet not unforgiving. I liked the art style and I found the little knights cute as I sent them off to their doom. There are a lot of levels to play in this game so you will probably find yourself having quite a lot of game time out of this, especially if you’re aiming to be a completionist. I can heartily recommend this game to anyone who loves brain-teasing puzzles, and of course, those who just feel like watching hundreds of people die for their own benefit. You sickos.
Jack McKay
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