Once in a blue moon, an inconspicuous game will come around and turn an entire genre or platform on its head. Sometimes You Die [$1.99] is one of those games. On the surface, Sometimes You Die is a very standard, but sleek platformer that asks you to get a cube through a series of hard-hitting arenas, with razor sharp spikes and enemies that usually employ the same said sharp tactics. You'll be able to traverse these areas by way of moving left, right, and jumping -- that's all you'll really need.

But there's a pretty big catch -- every time you die, you spawn a new cube where the last one fell. This is the key ingredient to a lot of puzzle solutions, which will have you create mounds of dead bodies to climb over, or pierce yourself on certain portions of the wall to create a makeshift ladder. It's very simple yet effective, and if you're ever frustrated or stuck, just hit the "restart" button to reset the entire board.

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It's a mechanic that's hardly frustrating, and will make you approach basic puzzles in a completely new way. It helps that many puzzles can be cleared in multiple ways, which really opens up your brain. Sometimes You Die also has a major underlying theme in that it's part art game, scrawling different bits of haunting and helping dialog on the wall behind you -- with the lights illuminating the important parts. It's not uncommon to want to stop and read the messages, and the way they are presented is incredibly unique.

While it looks like a normal platformer by way of a static screenshot, Sometimes is actually a bit more fluid in motion. Lights will swing, physics come into play, and everything just feels generally alive. The same goes for the soundtrack, which suits the mood of the game perfectly.

I don't want to spoil anything, but the game ends up mocking IAP, the state of the market, and the platforming genre in general by the time it's done. It also has a few mind-bending twists that really set it apart from the rest. It'll take roughly 30 minutes to get to that point, but the journey is worth every bit of the squeeze. Okay, so it's not really a spoiler, but Sometimes completely lacks any form of IAP -- what you buy is what you get.

It's hard to really talk at length about Sometimes You Die without giving it away entirely, but it's not only worth playing, it's worth finishing. With a core mechanic as simple as climbing over the fallen bodies of your past incarnations, Sometimes is fun, unique, and memorable.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • anada

    So does it only last for half an hour?

    • bcredonk

      Eli played it for almost an hour on stream and it looked like he finished it, but the game continued in a harder mode so I'm assuming it's longer than that.

    • xx99

      One playthrough will probably take about 30 minutes. There is a second playthrough that is a little different (and faster). There's also an incentive for completing the game with 0 deaths which could take you two playthroughs or twenty playthroughs.

  • crashmonkey

    Are these virtual controls? If not, It seems like it could be done with some interesting tilt and swipe controls.

    • xx99

      They are, they work fine.

  • korkidog

    I've played this game and gotten to 'the end', but it just continues at the beginning. I've been through it 4 times and it's always the same thing so I assume that is what the game is supposed to do.

  • Kiltedsheep

    Glad to see a review of this great little oddball offering. More power to the dev!

  • xx99

    It already looked right up my alley, but the review sold me. Bought it and enjoyed it immensely. I've beaten it twice on iPad and twice on my phone this morning, shooting for zero deaths now.

  • iAmTheWalrus

    I liked the whole 'use your corpse to get through the level' concept since it was my first time seeing something like that in a game but I thought the whole 'what is a game? why do we play games?' part was really stupid pretentious bullshit that was trying too hard and put words into the player's mouth, and it really detracted from the experience for me.

    • Kiltedsheep

      I guess that sort of thing either floats your boat or it doesn't! I have to say I quite liked it. Takes all sorts, innit?

    • Spore Productions

      I can see how that may grate on regular players. As an old-time gamer and a game designer it pressed all the right buttons for me, especially the brilliant "twists" after "completion" of the game. Absolutely brilliant and worth every penny to me. This game was a thesis on game design. Not pretentious in the least unless you think intelligent thought about game mechanics is somehow snobby.

    • thiagovscoelho

      The "use your corpses thing" was used in some flash games by jmtb02, I think This Is The Only Level or Achievement Unlocked

  • thiagovscoelho

    But how often do you die

Sometimes You Die Reviewed by Chris Carter on . Rating: 4.5