To be honest, I’m quite surprised something like this hasn’t shown up on XBLIG previously. I’ve played trainers for Shooter / Bullet Hell-types (and enjoyed them), so it makes perfect sense you’d see a trainer for a punisher / platformer. Call it necessary, even, considering the amount of death you dedicate to a game over the course of any take-your-pick punishformer. Stepping into the role of would-be sensei is Death Closet (80 MSP), operating under the assumption that ‘practice makes perfect’, or ‘practice makes you insane’, as it were.
And Death Closet is, for all its devilish intents and purposes, insane, cutting out the supposed fat and gristle (personality, slower moments, health bars, bright colors, mascots), and replacing it with death and / or near-death experiences, back to back to back to back to… well, I’m sure you get the idea.
The game drops you into a room, okay, a closet, if you want to be literal, and, over four modes that unsurprisingly play very similar to each other, you jump and double-jump to avoid a slew of projectiles. One hit and you’re done, off to the great ‘restart’ cloud in the sky. Granted, some of those hazards go beyond a simple jump or maneuver to avoid, exploding, blooming, or actively seeking you out once launched, but (non-spoiler alert!) this is all you ever do, in increments of ten or so seconds, as you’re likely to die then or very soon after.
‘Checkpoint’ mode is the friendliest, asking you to avoid fire for a set amount of time before reaching a… checkpoint, which places you there upon each restart. Learn the patterns, pray you get lucky, and repeat. Hardcore and Infinite modes drop the checkpoint system, and seem to be more or less the same, with the only difference I see being that the projectile sequence plays in a preset format in one, while going the full-random in the latter.
The last option, ‘Infinite Coin’ mode, throws collection into the jumping fray, tallying the money you pick up in lieu of time survived. It’s a diversion from the standard practices, though there’s not much incentive to it as it’s just survival in a different flavor. Leaderboards, as much a pain as they are to implement for indies, would have saved this game for me. Sharing scores with a friend isn’t cutting it.
Now, or five seconds from now, an end comes to us all.
The chief complaint something like Death Closet will accrue is that it’s extremely limited and specialized. That it all happens in a single room makes that repetition even harder to shake. If you’re not a fan of punishformers, or maybe you are, but really don’t see the dollar in what’s little more than a primer or trainer for a much better (and expanded) title like Apple Jack 2, then this game won’t hold all that much appeal to you. On the reverse side, if you’ve always felt that the platforming in other games just got in the way, if you love to die over and over without much rhyme or reason, Death Closet has your funeral(s) covered.