Permadeath has become pretty common in modern games – but new PC title One Life interprets the concept far more literally.
Titles such as DayZ, Rogue Legacy, Galak-Z, Binding of Isaac and Spelunky punish the player by making them start over entirely if they die in-game. Greenlight title On Life, however, will lock players out of the game permanently if they are killed. No restarts, just a greyed out play button.
And death can come quite easy, too. As well as fending off other players’ bullets, players can also succumb to a bite from the world’s infected or good old fashioned starvation – yes, as well as winning gun fights you’ll need to find food and water, too.
Being downed by an opponent doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all over, however. The desperation to preserve your character is built into the game’s mechanics.
When the enemy is defeated, you decide his fate. Forgive, humiliate, finish off, take everything he has – it’s your choice,” the game’s page somewhat ominously explains. Saved life of some loser? Take them captive and make them work off. They will do everything to be free again. No other game will give you this feeling of power over other people.”
It’s impossible for the developers to stop players from creating a brand new Steam account to play the game again should they die, of course. They are also aware of the fact that it’s a big ask requiring players to stump up whatever the cost of the game is when theoretically they might get to play for only a very short time.
"Choose the easiest events and locations where you have the lowest chances to meet other players,” the developer said on the game’s boards. This way you can easily collect weapons, gain confidence and decide if you are ready for more serious challenges.
You can definitely survive for a long time in the game. That’s not a problem at all if you are a careful player. With smart tactics you can play the game for months. For example, we are in a firefight and my friend, Josh, gets injured. And I can drag him to a safe place behind cover. If there are three of us, for example, our friend Michael can cover us with fire. Again I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that everyone has only one life, so no one’s going to perform a rocket jump or act silly because that’s dangerous, you can leave the game forever.
So, we’ve dragged our injured pal, revived him and now he can join us in the fight again. From the emotional point of view, that’s just like a real firefight.”
As one Steam user points out in the comments, however, the title also seems ripe for a bit of Steam refund abuse. Quite how the devs will counter that remains to be seen.