Karoshi stars you as Karoshi, an overworked businessman at Yoyo Corp, a huge corporation. One day Karoshi has had enough and it’s your job to help him find ways to kill himself, whenever by spikes, fire or electrocution. This version of Karoshi is brand new and it is not simply a port of the original flash game.
Karoshi features a mix of platformer and puzzle gameplay, 50 levels, two modes, and Game Center support.
In most games you’re expected to stay alive, to reach the goal and keep the protagonist safe, but in Karoshi you goal is to kill yourself as quickly as possible by using anything around you that could be deadly in the right circumstances.
You might push a block onto a switch to activate a flamer and then jump in it, jump up and headbutt a spiked ceiling, after you’ve solved the puzzle to reach the platform, or push a small block out form under another, so it falls and crushes you, which is exactly as hilarious as it sounds.
Other characters appear in the game and also have a hand in your demise. Your boss depresses Karoshi if he touches him, making him unable to jump as high, and Mrs Karoshi encourages Mr Karoshi, making him jump higher. The catch is that when Karoshi is happy, spikes turn into flowers, so you can’t use them to kill yourself. Some levels have you meeting Mrs Karoshi only to kill her by dropping a huge crate on her head, so you can kill yourself on spikes. Others let you control either the boss or Mrs Karoshi when you need their help, even if it’s just to set themselves on fire, so you can spread the fire to Karoshi to kill him.
Karoshi’s puzzles often require you to think outside the box. Level 13 is a good example, as it’s the first time you meet Mrs Karoshi. When you touch her, you can jump up onto the ledge behind her from her encouragement, but you don’t have any spikes to kill yourself. So you push the crate off the cliff onto her to make Karoshi unhappy, so you have spikes to jump on. This sort of wacky approach is both hilarious and needed to beat most of the puzzles.
Karoshi might look like a platformer, but at its heart is a puzzle game, albeit one with an uncommon mechanic. Each stage is only one screen and features a logic puzzle that is often very clever and as with most puzzle games you’ll sometimes spend ten minutes trying fruitlessly to solve a level, only to realize the solution has been staring you in the face the whole time.
Besides the main story mode described above, you can unlock another mode Karoshiware, by collecting coins found in the story mode. In this mode you are given an order to kill yourself, stay alive or not move at all. Each stage is tiny and you are only given 5 seconds to complete your goal, whenever it be working out how to kill yourself quickly, or avoiding imminent death. These stages are fast and short, making it easy to play dozens of them if you’re good enough and this mode is very addictive.
Karoshi looks good. It’s styled in a distinct 8bit way, with lots of large pixels, cutscenes are funny hand drawn affairs which appear every few levels and animations are amusing, such as how you explode when you’re set on fire, or your body parts bouncing around after you get crushed.
The sound is nigh on perfect. There are great sounds for dying that will make you laugh out loud and some excellent music accompanies the gameplay. The music is so good it’s a real shame more wasn’t included.
While Karoshi has 50 levels and Game Center achievements, the game is quite simple if you’re good at thinking logically and you’ll probably finish the lion’s share of them quickly. Some levels are real noodle scratchers however and you’ll get stuck at least a few times. Karoshiware adds a lot of longevity too, as it’s very addictive.
Karoshi’s controls are a little bit stiff. The game’s virtual directional keys don’t allow you to slide your finger to change direction like other IOS games, which might feel a little awkward for some players. This is not really a problem, as Karoshi is not a fast paced action game and the levels where you do need to move quickly are easy enough.
Karoshi is a no-brainer for anyone who enjoys witty humor and puzzle games. Its great premise, laugh out loud dark humor and very addictive gameplay makes it an absolute bargain for 99 cents and every iOS gamer should own a copy. Highly recommended!