A Date With Death

David Whyld (2008)

A Date With Death is a humorous game, in a Monty Python sort of way, that is based upon a deep lore with wild characters that are perfect for the setting. But it also suffers from frustrating game play, with puzzles that could be made easier, and occasional bugs that break down the mimesis. You might want to save often.

This is the third game in a series created by David Whyld, but you don't need to play the other two in order understand what's going on. Death is coming for you, because of what happened in the previous games, but everything is made clear within a few minutes of game play, and reinforced throughout the rest of the game.

You play a King, practically locked up in own his throne room, by a High Chancellor who controls most of the people you see; and he keeps your subjects in line with the executioner's blade. Keep in mind there's only about six rooms to move through, each filled with a lot of text containing a comical tone that rings throughout the setting.

A lot of the humor comes from when the High Chancellor calls upon you to oversee numerous problems within your kingdom. Talk menus here, which are handled numerically, make it easy to sort through the evidence and hand out your decree. A lot of the characters you run into feel like they're from Monty Python's Holy Grail, and the humor is handled quite well -- nothing too over the top -- with the King himself being the voice of reason.

The game is also frustrating to play. A lot of things seem buried; either in conversation topics, or in room objects that you might have failed to notice. Also, it has hard coded events that you can't get around, and you can run into time constraints. There is a hint system here, and I got really far using it; but I needed a walkthrough to complete the game; some of the puzzles really stumped me. Problem is, the game doesn't come with a walkthrough on hand, and you have to figure out the verb on your own in order to unlock this feature. I ended up e-mailing the author.

Some parts of this game are great and really entertaining, creating a tone that'll ring your funny bone. But you'll have to drudge through a few puzzles that are obscure in order to get to the end. It's sort of a sweet and sour mix, both frustrating and funny. But I'm sure it will be worth your time, and at least a few laughs.

I gave the game a 9 after two hours of play, I didn't unlock a lot of things, and experienced a few humorous scenes. But after playing it for another three and half hours, I feel it's really more of a 7, it's frustrating to play and the bugs really started to show.