Slash, dash and reap through Little Reaper as Ollie, the Grim Reaper’s tiny assistant in this colourful adventure platformer game. Ollie accidentally shatters a jar of souls while Death is on holiday. Now he has to travel the world to retrieve them, or else suffer the wrath of Death. Or worse… get fired!
Publisher: Little Reaper Games
Reviewed on: PC
Also available for: N/A
Developer: Little Reaper Games
Art: Adam Robertson, Adrian Lowres, Joshua Andrysik, Jess Evangelista
Programming: David Stow, Jeffery Chua, Taylor Bushell, Sam Cole, Jayden Mckay, James Heazlewood
Sound & Music: Liam Bushell
Writer: Rowan Girdler
When I played Little Reaper at PAX Australia in 2018 it was a little rough around the edges but showed a lot of promise. The platforming, design and art reminded me of old-school Disney games, which I’m a fan of. A little Aladdin, a little Ducktales. What I’m heartbroken to report however is that Little Reaper is less like Ducktales and a lot more Mickeys Mousecapade.
You play as Ollie, the tiny assistant of the big man, Grim himself. Ollie knocks over a jar of souls shortly after Grim heads off on a holiday and — whoopsie, you have yourself four levels of platforming, soul collecting and boss battles.
The narrative is as paper-thin as the games that clearly inspired Little Reaper, which is fine. Ollie is a cute character and the art is by far the highlight of the game. You can even spend the souls you find to unlock art back at the games menu as well as character bios.
Little Reaper is a short game. It’s four levels and took me nearly 3 hours to beat. Though I spent a good 30 mins of that time frustratingly banging my head on my desk.
This game can be hard. And not in a good way. It features some baffling design choices and terribly inconsistent difficulty. For every one section that’s been put together well and feels satisfying to beat, there’s a handful that feels like they were thrown together last week.
The same inconsistency with design and difficulty lays with the games boss fights. The last of which feels like you’re playing an alpha build.
My biggest complaint, however, is the very bold choice to feature so many water sections in a four-level platformer. Everyone hates water levels. I thought we had an understanding you could only put a couple in your whole game. Mario’s only allowed a handful in eight worlds. But I felt like I played half of Little Reaper underwater in tedious underwater sections.
Each level introduces one new power to Ollie which you can then take back into the previous levels to reach collectables you previously couldn’t. You start with a simple jump and eventually unlock a scythe you can throw and teleport to its location; a simple forward dash; as well as an uppercut. The last level in the game incorporates all of your moves but just when it feels like the games going somewhere, it’s all over.
When Little Reaper works, it works well. There are some fun and challenging but fair platforming sections here. But again, there are some weird difficulty spikes for no reason along with just badly designed sections.