The Chinese philosophical concept of Yin and Yang is used to show how seemingly opposite and contrary forces may be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent. These dualities include such things as light and dark; fire and water; life and death. While death is tragic, there are some who believe that a death brings with it new life- be it in the metaphysical passing of the torch, the bio-reconstitution of our decaying matter, or a passing on into a spiritual realm. That philosophy gets a whole new, almost morbid meaning in the Infinite Monkeys Entertainment-developed Life Goes On. Is the game the life of the party, or is it dead on arrival?
Let me place emphasis on a pet peeve that Life Goes On hits squarely on the head: the atrocious and insufferable to look at game icon that it has. It is literally a battle helmet over a white background. Not only does this fly in the face of the official suggested guidelines Nintendo has given out, it is not even worth flying in the face of those as some of the more borderline offenses are. It comes off looking like a mobile icon and at the very least they could have added the game’s name to it to at least better fit into the guidelines from Nintendo. Now, of course, they will likely change it in an upcoming patch and try to get a PR win by announcing the change, but bollocks I tell you, BOLLOCKS!
Now, on to the actual game at hand- Life Goes On is about a king who craves to live forever and will go to any lengths to achieve his goal. Naturally, there is an item that will fulfill his wishes: the fabled chalice called The Cup of Life that grants eternal life to whoever drinks from it. As one would expect, the cup is being held in a dangerous place that our fearless knight must go and find! Then, in a twist that everyone saw coming, there are chalices everywhere and the king must see each one up close to know which one is the right one, so the faithful knight must collect all of them to find the right one. But wait, the knight just died on the first level!
Is the mission already over? Nope, this is the entire basis of Life Goes On. You purposely kill knights in spots that allows you to progress and solve the puzzle at hand. See, these knights are as disposable as facial tissues and yes, it is perturbingly morbid. However (and quite sadistically so) it is also EXTREMELY fun to kill the hopeless knights even if it does not get them where you actually need them to solve the puzzle. The knights handle well but truthfully they only need to move and jump…and, well, die. I love that if the player kills just way too many knights the victory scene gets snarky. A favorite of mine includes, “Brought to you by Knights Without Pattern Recognition.”
The world of Life Goes On is broken up into three sub-worlds, each having a linear path outside of one optional challenge level in each. Sadly, that optional level is one of the few times the game is actually difficult, as most of the regular puzzles can be solved easily and is just a matter of putting all the pieces together to get the Knight of the minute to the cup at the end of the level. For those looking for more of a challenge, the game has a set of parameters, including time and number of knights used, that the player can try to meet for each level. This is all typical platforming bells and whistles, really, and that is the story of the game.
Everything in Life Goes On is just…so…typical with nothing unique outside of dying to continue with a puzzle. Do not misunderstand, the game is fun; the graphics look great, and there are no technical issues at all. There is just not enough here to replay it over and over unless you want to unlock achievements or beat the parameters listed for each level- and even then, that is not a whole lot to keep drawing a player back in. There is nothing wrong with that, but for players that want hundreds- if not thousands- of hours from a game, Life Goes On will simply stop short. That is perfectly fine, though, as everyone as different requirements for games. (Ryan Williford; Gaming Editor)
Review copy provided by Gamepoch; reviewed on the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode.