Total party kill is a simple game with a killer concept. This seed of an idea has blossomed into a dungeon set puzzler where progress can typically only be made by killing one or more of your three person party. There's the maid who can turn his friends into sliding blocks of ice the night who can send his comrades flying with a single swing of his sword, and the Archer whose arrows can pin his buddies to any wall, effectively turning them into fleshy platforms.
Mechanically, it's all very straightforward with just a few touch screen commands available throughout the entirety of the roughly to our adventure. The complications come in the ever evolving ways you need to make use of your characters, unique abilities. You may be challenged to press a button that's sitting snugged me behind a long row of spikes. So what do you do? You could get the night to hop on to, the spikes killing him in the process, then switch over to the maze and freeze his corpse into an ice block, hop, onset block, then switch to the Archer who can nudge the block along by firing his arrows at it.
There're often a few ways to Complete each level, something you might not even realize. At first, as you struggle to finish stages with anything close to a clean, no kill solution. The game is very good at delivering moments of genuine surprise as everything clicks into place, and an obvious solution pops into your brain.
Thing is, by the time it feels like you're into the gain proper, you already around 1/4 of the way through. Total party kill has 60 levels, which in itself is not a bad thing, but you can rush through them fairly quickly and games as short as this really need to make use of the limited timely spend with them.
The reality is the pacing often sags. A few levels feel extremely similar to levels you play before, which kind of makes them feel like filler. Sure you might get five iffy levels. Book ended by two more remarkable ones, but that batting average does need to be a little bit higher. This gradual sense of stagnation isn't helped by the somewhat semi visuals. The pixel art is great, but it just has the one look without color changes or environment shifts.
Thankfully, the game picks up again, right? Before drawing to a close where there are several back to back levels, which finally come close to achieving the concepts full potential. But then just as it starts getting really good, it's over. We really like the games, clever, mercenary concept. And there's something to be said for games which stick with one simple idea and explore it. I still think it's worth playing, but the game does push against the limits of the simple idea approach. And it comes up a little bit short.
Perhaps a sequel or even an update will give us a more fully realized, take on what remains a stellar concept.