Just Die Already review

By Tom West,
It’s an odd feeling, sitting down to write a serious article and using the words “killing old people is a fun way to spend a few hours,” but that’s the position I’m now in. Just Die Already will do that to you: push you to hand over control to that little voice in your head that just wants to know if you can dismember yourself and dunk your pelvis through a basketball hoop. The answer is yes, by the way, and it’s not even the weirdest thing you can do in the game.

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Just Die Already is described as an 'old people mayhem sandbox' and the brainchild of Armin Ibrisagic at DoubleMoose Games, who was originally the designer for Goat Simulator. The spectacularly kooky nature of Just Die Already makes a little more sense now, doesn't it? Due to that, we’ve lovingly labelled the game ‘Old Person Simulator’ when discussing it around the office. That being said, 'simulator' probably isn’t the best way to describe it, unless you know of many OAPs that willingly put themselves in mortal danger for the sake of getting a room in a retirement home. Come to think of it, my grandfather tried his hand at paragliding in his 70s… that is a story for another day, however.

The story for today is all about a loveable pensioner who is kicked out of their retirement home for upsetting all of the residents, and what follows is absolute carnage. Once you’ve picked your OAP and subsequently been kicked from the home, you’re thrust into a full sandbox experience. You’re given a Bucket List of tasks to complete, which vary from the weird to the absurd. My time was spent pulling off some of the strangest things I think I’ve ever experienced in a game, such as flying using fire extinguishers (which I don’t recommend as the safest mode of transportation), seeing how many mines I could bounce on before being blown to smithereens, fighting a group of kung-fu master gardeners using a large trout, and so, so, much more. Of course, pulling off stunts like this doesn't come without risks, and dismemberment is an extremely regular occurrence. I spent plenty of time as nothing more than a pelvis, rolling around the city like a little lump of sentient flesh. Once you’ve died, you miraculously respawn in a dumpster (because video games) and can head off in search of the next kooky thing that takes your fancy.

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Almost everything in the game is interactable, letting you play around with anything you can get your wrinkly hands on... provided you haven't chopped them off already, that is. Grabbing a pedestrian and dragging them into the road so you can get a grip on a car speeding past is a pretty satisfying experience. The characters' ragdoll mechanics add to that experience a little more when the pedestrian turns into what can only be described as a human flail, smashing everything you pass by. It’s great fun: silly, but fun nonetheless. The ragdoll mechanic is the same as it was in Goat Simulator, so pressing B sees your pensioner crumple to the ground like a deflated pool float. It would be a lie if I said I hadn’t ‘ragdolled’ off the side of a building to see how many things I could hit on the way down, watching as an arm flew off in one direction and my head disappeared in another. But that’s precisely what DoubleMoose encourages you to do in Just Die Already — experiment with the world and see just what kind of punishment your pensioner can withstand.

The game’s world is split into different zones, each offering its own environment and challenges to complete via its tab in your Bucket List. The main city district is situated in the middle, and is surrounded by smaller zones which range from a sports ground to a country park that features sheep in a minefield (obviously). Each zone feels unique and grants you access to another crazy set of activities, challenges, and puzzles. I found that most of my time was spent within the city, dodging lunatic drivers as I went about attempting to find a way of knocking off an activity from my list.

just die already review xbox series x s one

The whole game really is a playground, allowing you to take part in pretty much anything you want to try your hand at. The Bucket List pushes you to explore the world and take advantage of the delightfully chaotic activities it provides. As an achievement hunter, I found the Bucket List to be a welcome addition, and seeing as the majority of achievements are linked to the Bucket List, it'll certainly offer a challenge to complete. I didn’t have access to the achievement list while playing the game for this review, but now that the game is released, I can say that it's a pretty straightforward completion. Well, not for the first few players, but once guides start appearing for every Bucket List challenge, the rest of the players will fly through it. The one that's going to catch you out the most is Pro Baller, which tasks you with scoring 10 basketball shots without missing. If you're familiar with physics-based games, you'll know just how difficult that is to pull off, especially when your pensioner throws like they've been dabbling with way too many prescription medications and washed it all down with a few pints. I wasn't at all surprised to see it implemented. After all, Goat Simulator had the dreaded Flapmaster achievement, which caused me to run out of curse words and develop my own just so I had something else to shout. These challenges kept me busy for a while each night I booted it up to play, but I found it difficult to become invested for more than a couple of hours at a time.

just die already review xbox series x s one

That’s where I struggled the most during my time with the game. Once the novelty of mortally wounding my character had worn off shortly into a play session, the continuous maiming of my dear old man grew a little stale. I’d have to take a break and return the next evening, which again would have my attention for an hour or two before I was yearning for a break. But then that’s what this kind of game is for — a few hours of mindless fun in an open world packed with possibilities, and a list of crazy challenges to complete along the way if you feel like it. It’s a welcome break from the more sensible games I usually play, ticking all of the right boxes for an enjoyable romp. Co-op play is where Just Die Already will shine, I reckon. The potential for chaos with a group of buddies is a huge draw for me, and one that I intend on returning to partake in.

Summary

Just Die Already is a game that offers you the odd few hours of reprieve from other, more serious experiences, handing you the reins and coaxing you into experimenting with every ridiculous idea that pops into your head. It's fantastic fun in short bursts, silly, but structured well enough to offer you a challenge if that's what you're looking for. I'd recommend grabbing a couple of buddies and seeing what chaotic exploits you can get up to. It's certainly worth the time — especially at the game's price point — even if it's not the kind of thing that you can sit down to play for hours at a time.
8 / 10
Just Die Already
Ethics
Tom spent around 13 hours putting old people through torturous ordeals for his amusement, unlocking two of Just Die Already's achievements along the way. A review copy of the game was provided by DoubleMoose Games and played on an Xbox Series X.
Tom West
Written by Tom West
Tom has been playing video games since he was old enough to hold a controller, experimenting with systems like the Nintendo 64 and Playstation until he eventually fell in love with the Xbox 360. With a passion for the platform, he decided to make a career out of it, and now happily spends his days writing about that which he loves. If he’s not achievement hunting, you’ll likely find him somewhere in The Elder Scrolls Online.