Felix is in love, and Sir Patrick Stewart narrates. The story unfolds with Felix, who works for the Ministry of Death, dreaming about his crush Betty who works for the Ministry of Life. You follow him as he settles into his new position as a grim reaper, tasked with fixing up Final Destination like accidents. This story with Betty doesn't get much more involved until the final chapter, filling your time with a whole bunch of grim adventure puzzling in between.
The game is visually pleasing in art style, menus, unique character models, and colorful backgrounds. Each stage opens and closes with a cutscene, and Sir Patrick Stewart delivers some lines throughout each chapter. There is a fair amount of polish in the cutscenes and the music score offers nearly a full soundtrack of songs to listen to while you enact your murderous intent.
In each stage Felix is moved across a grid like map via point and click where he is tasked to move a key item to a specific block on the map, furthering each chapter's objective. He cant move around in the light so he sticks to moving around in the shadows created by the sun overlooking each stage. By using the "Sun Master" you can rotate the sun into one of two directions to change the shadows that are being cast. There are interactable objects that cast shadows and moving these around is the main premise behind reaching the items and locations to complete each stage.
As you progress, each chapter the game loosely moves the Betty story further as you complete your grim reaper duties in each stage. Its not a long story, nor is it very detailed; It just is. Let's just say you wont be on the edge of your seat. The final cutscene gave me the impression that the story was just a pitch for a follow up game.
The Art of Dance
The game has 5 chapters with providing cut scenes before and after each stage. There is a lot of focus to deliver a audio \ visual experience while Felix doing his grim reaping each stage. The soundtrack is well produced with over 12 tracks to choose from while Felix dances around each stage. There are around 50 stages to be played, half coming from the main story line and the other half being 'hardcore' and extra levels.
All of the stages count toward a completeness score, counting up challenges that are made up of time taken to complete, amount of tiles crossed, actions taken, and sun rotations made. These challenges are not required to complete the game, but do increase some of the replayability.
While the game provides a lot of stages, the pacing didn't match what I have come to expect from puzzle games. If you follow the main storyline the actions of each stage become repetitive and feel as a buffer between cutscenes. By Chapter 3 each stage only varied by the number of actions required to complete it. One redeeming element is that the hardcore version of each of stage added more mechanics that would have breathed some life into the last chapters of the main story.
After learning the mechanics of the game from the first couple chapters and returning to play the 'hardcore' levels, these puzzles often had more puzzle mechanics. These additional mechanics were not introduced in the main story and it made the hardcore puzzles feel fresh. The main progression would have been improved if mechanics from the hardcore stages were introduced as the player progressed in the main story.
Trying to complete challenges for a 100% rating sometimes felt difficult due to the level getting in the way and easy to make mistakes when moving items around the stage. Challenges tracking time and actions taken were harder with a controller and it is not satisfying to have to repeat a run due to the controls available to you. Playing with a mouse and keyboard did alleviate some of the difficulty completing the time-trial challenges, but that could not be a option for some.
After exploring all that Felix The Reaper has to offer, it proved to have a lot of good elements with great presentation but the puzzling could get stale if you follow the path set by the game. In trying to deliver a storyline the pacing of introducing new elements was thrown off. There is a lot of good puzzling here but you might find getting off the beaten path and checking out the game's additional features is more satisfying.