Published on November 8th, 2018 | by Lee Davies
Review: Rage in Peace (Switch eShop)
Format reviewed: Switch eShop
Other formats available: Steam
Developer: Rolling Glory Jam
Publisher: Toge Productions
Website: Official Website
Rage in Peace is a side-scrolling adventure game that tells the story of Timmy Malinu, an emotionally numb 27 years old actuary who only has one dream that sets him apart from most people: to die asleep in his pajamas, in the warmth of home, in peace, and with no drama.
On one fateful day, a Grim Reaper appears bearing news that Timmy will die today. With his head cut off. But the Grim Reaper did not specify when, where, or what will kill Timmy, giving him one final chance to realize his dream.
But achieving his dream will not be an easy task for Timmy. To reach his home, Timmy will have to avoid all the traps and obstacles that mysteriously show up to stop him from “cheating” death. Surprise and memorization will be the key for you to help Timmy postponing his demise, receive inner peace, and dying the way he always wished to.
Rage in Peace is a 2D side-scrolling platformer with a difficulty level that will press most players to frustration. The frustration isn’t necessarily through the difficulty of platforming, but due to another more insidious form of rage-inducing gaming deaths.
The controls are very simplistic, but are responsive. The Left Analogue (or D-Pad) moves Timmy, the marshmallow-headed protagonist on a quest for self-fulfillment and a future that removes the option of an imminent decapitation. B jumps, and double jumps, and A moves storied dialogue along in the right direction. The controls are never the problem when approaching an obstacle to be vaulted, it’s always the slightly unfair hit-boxes that cover areas rather than specific to the actual on screen enemy. Knowing where an enemy is, isn’t always indicative of your survival outcomes, and touching spiked balls can result in both favourable and unfortunate outcomes, whenever the game pleases. Also, the same is true when death occurs, and a clear margin of safety seemed to have been reached only for Rage in Peace to determine that the jump in question was an actual hit instead. Frustrating at the best of times.
Not that the best of times occur much. Deaths come randomly all the time. Looking at the level architecture, you’ll see a flat 2D plain to run across. No obstacles whatsoever. However, the first level is a great example of what to expect throughout the entirety of Rage in Peace. A puddle of water is placed on the office floor and walking through it reveals spikes that jump up and instantly one-hit kill you. Restart the level. Run to the puddle, a little wiser now you’ll jump over the invisible trap. Run on to the next puddle, a longer one, and jump. This time a swinging spiked ball chain descends from the light fixtures and finishes you off. Restart the level. Do it all again, and again, and again. Every single enemy moves too fast to react too, traps are invisible until set-off, so the only way to know what is in the level is to trip the trap, die, remember and dodge it next time. Each level becomes a slog through moving 3 steps, dying, repeat, another 3 steps, die, repeat, repeat, repeat. There’s nothing clever about the level design, just an endless repetition to find yet another way to die (of which there are 87 in total), followed by minimal gains. Shark puddles, falling light fixtures, falling statues, falling blocks, bamboo spikes, Maoi Heads riding skateboards, fast moving brick walls, spears, Furious BongoMan, rowing Stephen, all the usual assortments of unavoidable death related paraphernalia, including bosses whose movement has to be remembered just as well as all the other death traps.
The Story on the other hand is quite a nice mix of humour and existentialism drawn in a cartoon-book style. The game retains these simple hand-drawn, heavily outlined characters, from Timmy Malinu himself, to the Grim Reaper, zombies, and talking trees. Retaining this style lets the game move solidly and smoothly at all times, which adds extra shame to the problems of collision detection. With a total of five Acts (Levels) getting progressively more challenging on your timing and memory, a first play-through of the game comes in at around 4 hours. How much further you want to torture yourself to gain the elusive medal for completing all Acts with no damage is up to you, but the music might make you stay a bit longer than you wanted too. Cutscenes are provided a real pop/indie song that sets the tone of the game dystopian melancholia, another shame that the gameplay doesn’t live up to the lofty heights of the audio experience.
There is a Goldfish Mode that can make the game easier by highlighting previously tripped traps, and make a second attempt at a level a little easier, until the next trap, that is. But it’s too little for an otherwise frustrating experience.
Summary: With its complete reliance on the player to memorise every single hazard on-screen by repetitious and unceremonial tedious death, Rage in Peace rightfully acquires the first name of its title, but not the last. RAGE!