Grave Danger

Welcome to the graveyard! Grave Danger is a platformer developed by Joindots and is available on the PS4 for approximately $19.49 CND. Gamers join the spooky adventure with three mysterious outlaws: Dante, Malice, and Elliot. Your mission is to clear your names, as each outlaw is wanted dead or alive by the sinister villain named Boss who sort of resembles Skeletor from the Masters of the Universe.

Each outlaw is unique in appearance and ability. Dante is a cowboy with a pistol who can shoot, dash, jump, long-jump, and double-jump up walls. Elliot, who sort of resembles Orko from Masters of the Universe, is a wizard who harnesses a projectile staff and is capable of a midair double-jump. The reaper Malice carries a scythe which can be boomeranged at monsters and other frightening creatures. He is also capable of hovering a short distance.

The name of the game in Grave Danger is patience… I mean teamwork. You’ll need to carefully strategize your way through each level, otherwise you’ll find yourself returning to the graveyard repeatedly to resurrect your outlaws. Essentially, you get a mulligan for every costly decision you make throughout your terrifying adventure.

The controls for each outlaw are simple and easy to remember; however, timing is of utmost importance in Grave Danger. You must time your movements precisely and accurately as there is not much forgiveness when you’re attempting to say, hover over some spinning razorblades. Complicating the mission is the very likely possibility that you’ll have to backtrack and complete the same challenging jumps, hovers, and climbs to return to the spot that you already worked so very hard to get to. As such, it is vitally important that you get each outlaw to the various graveyards that are located throughout each level, which you are able to use as a checkpoint to resurrect.

Each level is occupied by nightmarish creatures who interfere in your conquest by basically getting in the way. Fear not, as you can blast those fools and ghouls into oblivion, or simply avoid them by timing your movements perfectly. Throughout each level there are wanted posters to collect. However, the posters aren’t exactly easy to snag, which offers an extra layer of difficulty… and frustration at times. You’re alphabetically graded on each level by time, deaths, and posters collected. It felt good to earn an A, especially since they are non-existent in my academic transcripts, outside of gym class.

Grave Danger is a challenging but enjoyable experience. The game is probably more enjoyable with a second player, as you’d probably be able to move through each level more quickly and laugh at each other’s failed attempts. In terms of presentation, the music just doesn’t quite seem to fit for my liking. For some reason, Joindots decided to include a late 80s/early 90s urban-pop themed instrumental soundtrack, which can become quite annoying when you’re repeatedly failing the perfect jump. There are no voiceovers, and there’s quite a bit of cheesy text dialogue to sift through for each level.

Grave Danger is a unique, challenging, and fun platformer. I’ve never played such a strategic platformer before, so most of the time I enjoyed the planning and problem solving involved in this eerie adventure.  If you’re looking for a quirky platformer to dive into and appreciate, Grave Danger is for you. But beware; do not touch anything greasy before you traverse this strange world; if your fingers slip off the controls, even slightly, it’s off to the gallows for you, my spine-tingling friend.

~~Eric Collins~~

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