While there have been plenty of abstract mobile games that use basic shapes as characters, few of them challenge your notions of games themselves. Sometimes You Die offers a creative take on simple platforming, with a cerebral twist that makes it above average.
The controls couldn’t be simpler: You pilot a black square with easy left, right, and jump buttons. When you make your way to the exit, you’ll scroll over to the next screen as techno music loops and a computerized voice taunts you with psychological insights.
The twist arrives when you have to sacrifice your character to provide a route to the exit. You have unlimited lives, and can crawl over the corpses of your previous iterations to scale walls or cross a bed of spikes. If your path becomes too choked with dead, you can hit a reset button to try the level again.
The few dozen levels fly by quickly, especially if you’re experienced with platformers. There is also an ultra-challenging maze of bonus levels available beyond the main game that introduces a gravity-altering dynamic.
Still, we didn’t consider the gameplay to be the main value of Sometimes You Die. For that, look to the cryptic comments in the background of each new level, which deconstruct the game (and every game) as a pattern of lights and inputs, held together by human imagination. It’s worth playing just to see this thoughtful philosophy unspool in front of you.
Sometimes You Die has an intriguing premise, and its gameplay is simple and fun. However, it’s not overly complex, and we respectfully disagree with the idea that games only provide the most basic sensory stimulation. Detailed artwork, music that lasts more than thirty seconds, and a complex story can all deepen an experience beyond the basic concept in a game. Sometimes You Die is worth a try, but just because it shuns those artistic elements doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile.