Ever wondered what old people might do after being kicked out of a retirement home? Well, the answer seems to be death-defying stunts and destroying their limbs for tickets they can use to buy weapons.
Just Die Already tells the tale of old folk who have just been kicked out of their retirement homes, competing with each other to secure a sweet spot somewhere new by performing dangerous challenges to qualify for free care.
The game is physics-based, similar to comedy sims like Goat Simulator and more, where everything is dialled up to eleven! You control an elderly of your choice, who can pick up items with their left or right hand, each controlled with a separate mouse button.
To help make harming yourself easier, Just Die Already comes with a world littered with hazards, featuring cars that aggressively drive down the road, open wirings sparking electricity, dangerous machinery that can cut off limbs and much more!
This mixes well with the game’s open-ended nature that doesn’t railroad you into specific missions and instead gives you a growing number of tasks that encourage you to die in various ways, promoting further interaction with its world. Most tasks have several steps, with each step unlocking a new weapon or item that you can acquire from a vending machine.
Both conventional and slapstick weapons are available in-game, with items like revolvers and sticky bombs sitting alongside grenades that explode into bees and guns that shoot bananas. You can use this against NPCs that walk around the sandbox, who you are free to harass or kill. However, most do fight back, with some acting as enemies that attempt to kill you for trespassing.
Whilst you can die in the game, it is very forgiving, especially since you are encouraged to lose your limbs first. The characters can limp even without legs or any other part of their bodies. There are parts of the world that will only be accessible upon losing a combination of limbs, challenging you to lose them in strategic ways.
The combination of these sandbox elements allows players to create emergent narratives. In just the first five minutes, I got set on fire and rammed into a glass aquarium full of piranhas by a sheep!
Whilst all of these elements are fun, they aren’t engaging enough for more than a couple of hours when playing alone. I was able to try out most things and find quite a few secret areas in barely a few hours. Where I believe there is potential, however, is the game’s multiplayer mode.
The game shines when you cause mayhem with friends in this unpredictable world. Whilst you can join random strangers, it isn’t as engaging since you can both be doing random things without communication. There are a couple of unique multiplayer maps available as well, each with its own set of challenges that players can vote for.
I was surprised to find players online months after the game’s initial release. What helps is the fact that the game comes with cross-play support, allowing Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo Switch users to play together.
One of the things I was surprised to see was the support for switch button prompts, which is a smart decision on the developer’s part. Usually, developers just focus on Xbox or Playstation prompts for the PC, but the switch pro controllers are also used by a lot of people.
Overall, the game has an amped-up world full of novel weapons and hazards, that all come together to form a fun sandbox experience even if the fun doesn’t last on longer sessions. However, the game is relatively cheap and worth it for those couple of hours, especially with friends. Who knew playing in traffic as old people could be so much fun?