Before playing the new party game Move or Die, you must ask yourself on question – are you a jerk? I don’t mean the everyday, ordinary “I don’t let people out of the parking lot at a busy intersection” kind of jerk, I mean the “I don’t use my turn signals and break at the last possible moment” kind of jerk. The people who exhibit road rage in the grocery store. The person that would unplug a controller or knock it out of an opponent’s hand mid-game so they couldn’t play. This is the type of douchebaggery that takes place in the newest party game to grace the console world, which almost feels like playing Cards Against Humanity where you are the biggest, blackest ________ and your friends are (Insert your favorite CAH white or black card here).
The game is extremely fast paced and easy to pick up, and in all honestly, is going to sound way more complex in writing than it is. The only thing that is standard across all of the game modes is quite simple – you stop moving and you die – the rest of the game is built around this. Each game is broken down into rounds and will play out until the desired time limit is reached, meaning each game could have 20+ rounds with a five minute timer being used. At the beginning of each game, all of the players will be able to select one of a huge roster of avatars, select teams or go solo, and choose from a number of game modes, and then a randomly selected player will be able to select a modifier. Once all of this is done, a mode will be randomly selected, and with a quick description/tutorial screen, you’ll be on your way. Each character is given only one life per round, so you could’ve probably played three or four rounds in the time it’s taken to read this paragraph.
The cast of characters is ginormous, all of which have this cutesy, short and fat quality to them, which even applies to the guest characters. While there are tons of original characters, the most appealing were the ones originating from Rick and Morty (Rick, Morty, Birdperson, Krombopolis Mike, and Mr. Meeseeks are all currently included), as well as Twitch and Discord icons, Shovel Knight, and I am sure I am missing some from more obscure titles I have never seen/played. They are all animated well, with a surprising amount of detail despite being such small characters on the screen. The one area that I found to be a bit annoying when it comes to the cast is that the game allows multiple people to select the same avatar, despite none of them having a clear advantage over any of the others.
The game modes are extremely varied, with races, PvP gun battles, variations of tag, and literally dozens of others in play. All of these are extremely basic but not always explained in the most clear cut way, often resulting in a quick death due to being new to the mode. There is a surprising amount of strategy involved, which will require you to adapt depending on how far the other players push you with their often cheap tactics. Most of the modes will offer the opportunity to push your opponents off of the safe areas, knocking them out of the round entirely, whereas you could be just as successful trying to outlive the others minding your own business. Regardless of the mode, points are assigned to the winner, as well as runner-ups, often resulting in extremely close games.
The modifiers are a mixed bag of variations that apply to the game modes for a total of five rounds, and once the cycle is completed, a new player will get to select from a random bucket of three options. These include options to make the game more difficult for everyone, such as one that makes the entire background aside from a small lighted area around the characters black, or causes the players to constantly cycle characters making it a bit harder to determine who is whom. My personal favorite is titled NSFW, which makes all of the characters remove their clothes, resulting in the avatars all looking like blurred genitalia. There are some beneficial options, but who wants to help the enemy? These include a double jump and giving a more level playing field by slowing the point leader and making the current loser run twice as fast.
The game can be played locally, with bots, or other real life humans locally (I would recommend you aren’t too close to any other players, because I know my son was ready to take a few swings at me during our sessions) or online. I cannot state how happy I was to find that every mode, level, and character was unlocked for local play, removing the overly grindy online economic system for those who just want to sit down and annoy the piss out of their friends and family. The only way you can currently earn coins outside of online play is by completing daily challenges and a rougelike-ish daily run mode, which gives you a single attempt to make it through a preset game.
Online play doesn’t change the game much, but will limit your options to the ones you’ve unlocked by leveling up or earning coins. When I have earned a max of 50-ish coins a game, asking 1000+ coins for Mr Meeseeks should be a crime in all 50 states. I try not to outright insult the online community of any game, but I will come out and say it this one time – everyone I’ve ran into online is a complete dick. My first match up paired me with a group of higher level players, all who decided at the last minute to switch to a single team, securing my inevitable defeat. The online modes are limited, with matchmaking and private options being the only current selections available, but there is a nifty feature that will give you pop ups in the corner if someone is looking for players, allowing you to peruse the shop and whatnot without sitting in a lobby. While I was never dropped, I was plagued with a “bad connection” header at the top of the screen constantly and experienced a number of longer than usual connecting screens despite having a high-end internet connection.
The presentation is a bit uneven, as the brightly colored cast of characters and levels all look well rendered and do an apt job of standing out among the backgrounds, but the levels are panned out so far it makes it difficult to tell exactly where you are when the action gets the heaviest. I would’ve preferred to have a close up camera angle, or at least the option of it. This becomes even more frustrating when some of the harsher modifiers come into play. The saving grace here is the snarky narrator that nails the serious tone of any 80’s/90’s movie trailer exposition to a tee, mocking you and the other players at every chance he gets. This often takes place in text headers on the scoreboard as well, where insults are thrown at the winners and losers equally.
Featuring an online mode that is perfect for the internet trolls across the globe in addition to fun and frantic local gameplay, Move or Die is an excellent addition to any gamer’s library and should not be missed. If you need further incentive to purchase this, there are absolutely no micro transactions and additional FREE DLC has been promised in the coming months.
9 out of 10
- Tons of Levels, Modes, and Characters
- Addicting Gameplay
- The Option to Troll Friends/Family/Online Strangers
- Some Modes Lack Proper Player Direction
- Tense Matches can be Visually Confusing
Move or Die was developed and published by Those Awesome Guys. It launched on PC in 2016, and on PS4 March 5th, 2019. The game was provided to us for review on PS4. If you’d like to see more of Move or Die, check out the game’s official site.
Here at GBG we use a rating method that you are more than likely familiar with – a scale of 1 to 10. For clarification, we intend on using the entire scale: 1-4 is something you should probably avoid paying for; 5-7 is something that is worth playing, but probably not at full price; 8-10 is a great title that you can feel confident about buying. If you have any questions or comments about how we rate a game, please let us know.