Gold. This valuable metal has driven many men (and women) mad with greed, and the protagonist in The Art of Dying is actually driven by a similar lust for this precious metal. It’s quite challenging too, as there are no mid-level checkpoints, plenty of spikes, turrets and other hazards, and most importantly: unless you grab enough gold, the next stage will remain forever out of reach.
I don’t know what it is with me and these so-called ‘brutally difficult’ platformers. I’m pretty bad at them, yet in spite of that, their appeal is undeniable. The same goes for The Art of Dying, which was actually created using Adventure Game Studio, of all things! Most creations using that engine have deep roots in the point-and-click genre after all, but not this one. Very impressive.
Equipped with a meagre sword (at least, I think that’s what it is) and the ability to double jump, you’ll have to traverse six levels, one more treacherously dangerous than the last. And don’t let that ‘(Easy)’ option in the menu fool ya – it’s not easy. At all. In fact, as the developer puts it, “two difficulty levels (really hard and unbelievably really f*cking hard)”; sounds about right. Not entirely sure what’s really different between the two though, because both seem to follow the same rules, along with seemingly identical level design.
Each gold nugget and/or pile of bars collected adds to your $ total as indicated at the bottom of the screen. While some can be tricky to reach, I’d still recommend grabbing as much as you can, because you’ll need a full bar to exit the current level. Trust me, getting past all kinds of nasties only to find yourself short on money in the end… not fun. So get to breaking some boxes and slaying enemies for loot (gold, not items)!
If you’re feeling crafty after all that running, jumping and slicing, the game comes with a fully featured level editor. There’s even an official website for sharing your creations with other The Art of Dying fans – doesn’t get better than that. Or does it? Well, if you’re an aspiring developer, or simply curious as to what makes it tick, you’re gonna love this next bit: the entire project is open source!
Have fun, prepare to die a lot and make sure to let me know if you managed to beat the game.
Indeed. So if you’re up for a challenge, or think you are, check out this forum thread for download links and more details. Remember, no gold, no exit. Greed is a surefire way to get yourself killed, but it’s a risk you’ll have to take in… The Art of Dying.