Bored to Death…Stair
You’ve got to give a fun idea credit. Death Stair is a multiplayer game where you try to reach the top of the stairs or if you’re lucky, you get to shoot at anyone trying to climb the stairs. Death Stair, while not being an obvious combination of words, doesn’t look like it’s trying to copy any other games. It’s not flashy or huge. It just gives you what it is, and that’s exactly what the name implies. It isn’t complex, it isn’t pretty, and I appreciate it for trying. Unfortunately, Death Stair has a lot of issues that are hard to look past.
I’ve summed up most of what’s available in Death Stair in the first paragraph. There’s both local and online multiplayer, but that’s it. There’s no single player, only three maps, and a ten-second learning curve to get past. The game still has quirks and gets the job done when it comes to wacky multiplayer. Throwing beach balls, bricks, explosives, and other objects at your buddies is great even the positives have flaws that make it hard to look past.
As the runner, all you have to do is run to the exit avoiding the obstacles. You can sprint, quick strafe, and jump to victory. It feels intentional, but the characters jump like they’re on the moon. It’s almost always a bad idea to jump unless you like dodging one bullet and getting pegged with the next. The rag doll physics hurl your character down the stairs or backward into imminent death the second you’re hit.
As a gunner, each map has a different type of ammo, and if you don’t ration your shots you’re bound to run out in no time. The gun reloads after a matter of time, a sort of “cool down” which isn’t very functional in a game about chaos. When the runner reaches a checkpoint you’re hurled up a flight and can continue shooting. Your only goal is to hold off the runner as long as you can, and if your opponents run out of time, you win.
That’s the run down of the game, but here’s where things get troublesome. Everything feels unfinished. The animations are choppy and at times you can’t even tell you’re hit or about to be hit by something. On the platforming map, the gunner is given a brick machine gun, which sounds awesome, except it sprays a random smattering of bricks that don’t match up with what’s going on on screen. As a runner, I’d constantly get stunned by these bricks despite the fact that it didn’t look like they made it even halfway to me. The sound effects didn’t correspond to what was happening, sometimes not even working at all until I was three quarters of the way through the map. The music doesn’t really match the silly nature of the game, either, and gives a very serious tone to something that shouldn’t be taken seriously.
I’m charmed by the concept of Death Stair, I really am. The game aims to be a fun game to play with whoever you’ve got around, and if it weren’t for the execution, I’d say it was worth a try even with the small amount of content it currently offers. I’m glad it doesn’t profess to be any more than it is, but there are other multiplayer and party titles available at a smaller price that succeed on more levels than what Death Stair brings. I give it points for trying, but I can’t see myself firing this up more than once or twice for novelty in the future.
Final Verdict: 2.5/5
Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (reviewed) ; Publisher: Missing Link Games ; Developer: Fun Sponge Games ; Players: 1-4; Released: August 16, 2016; Genre: Multiplayer, Casual, Party ; MSRP: 11.99
Full disclosure: This review was written based on a review code supplied by the game’s publisher.