One Single Life touched off a bit of a firestorm in the comments when we posted our hands-on preview, because the idea of paying for a game where you can only die once, and then never play again, is anathema to gamers. From their earliest days, videogames have always been about dying over and over again, and One Single Life has one, single point to make about this tradition.
First of all, it’s no longer a dollar to play, so that alone defuses much of the pre-release criticism of the concept. As a free game, it also contains no advertising or in-app purchases, making this a game that’s purely about one thrilling idea– running and jumping without a net.
A beautiful night to tempt death.
One Single Life is all about building tension by reinforcing the fact that you have one life, and each jump you take could be your last. You start your rooftop figure running with one tap, and make one more tap to perform a long jump between buildings. You can practice each level as many times as you like, but if you die in “reality”, that’s it. Game over forever– unless you find the game’s secret extra life.
The first few jumps are a snap, and with some rudimentary timing skills, you’ll feel secure in your position. But midway through the game, when precise timing is required, you’ll have to ask yourself: Will I become just another statistic presented on the game’s virtual billboards? Eventually, you will.
Don’t become another statistic.
One Single Life offers just a few minutes of expertly-crafted tension. The animation for your runner is quite nice, and we liked the game’s atmospheric silhouette graphics. Although it abandons videogame convention by making your fatal mistake permanent, it’s a clever concept executed perfectly.
Download One Single Life, see how far you get, and reflect briefly on the meaning of the game. It’s a fun, free diversion, and then you can get back to your more traditional platformers with 99 1-ups and unlimited continues. As a soul-searching videogame experiment, One Single Life sticks the landing.