Get ready to celebrate Halloween in May because Death or Treat has been unleashed. The 2D action platformer puts players in the invisible shoes of Scary, a business-minded ghost who’s out to fight bats, ghouls, and, most importantly, The Man. You read that right. Mixed in alongside its spooky theme is an unmistakable Silicon Valley ooze. Our self-made store owner’s battle to bring down the capitalistic Clark Fackerberg is full of humorous, Halloween-laden commentary, competent combat, and art to die for.
Rolling into HallowTown with a cart filled to the brim, I’m greeted by silence. It’s not the ghost town I was hoping for, as no one seems to be around to buy my sugary product. The hand-drawn art and expressive animations are sublime. Colors are rich and detailed environments beg to be admired. Its visuals are, beyond a doubt, Death or Treats’ best feature.
The pull to rebuild the abandoned town is also hard to resist. Boarded-up shops litter the streets, and floating in front of one reveals not only the cost it takes to reanimate it but also why you’d want to. These incorporeal corporations promise boosts and tools to help take on the big bad.
To fill these orders, I have to venture into the dungeons, each modeled after real-world conglomerates. Darkchat, the Storyum lab, Riptok, Deviltube, and FaceBoo all serve as battleground backdrops as I destroy workers and company property alike to accumulate wealth. Of course, in a Halloween-centric world, the main currency here is Candy, but I also need to collect things like pumpkin seeds, wood pieces, and bat wings to acquire more valuable objectives.
The platforming in these levels feels a bit floaty — which makes sense considering I’m a ghost — and the combat isn’t overly challenging. I have two melee options and a special attack that get me past animated vats of green liquid and pumpkin-headed dogs with little effort. But when I do get overwhelmed with enemies, I bring all candies and select items back with me to my cart in town, and I can go to refurbish shops from here. The loop is simple but effective.
Death or Treat is a great game to pick up if you want something to play in short bursts that offers a sense of accomplishment. I often made it to the first boss within minutes and admired every inch of the bewitching map along the way. Investing in local shops to empower my special skills, acquire more damaging weapons, or increase my health with a heart swig of pumpkin latte makes defeating baddies even easier. I looking forward to helping my store owner go toe-to-toe with this macabre world’s fattest cat.