GAMING: Half Hour Games – I am dead where are my keys

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I am dead where are my keys is a driving-adventure game released on October 31, 2015. With programming by Taylor Bai-Woo, graphics by Ben Swinden, and music by Halina Heron, it’s pretty comprehensively developed for a game about two skeletons saving Halloween from the comfort of their car.

Yes, once again Halloween is in danger and it’s up to a dynamic pair of skeletons in their cherry-red convertible to save it. Can they save this treasured holiday, or will it forever be ruined by… whatever kind of threat Halloween would face?

After the jump, we’ll rattle some bones and see if we’re bad enough dudes to save Halloween.

The half hour

The game is made in Unity, and begins with a non-standard boot screen that adjusts your screen resolution. This was a little confusing as we’re more used to the default Unity launcher, but it was simple enough to figure it out.

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You play as Skeletony and Skelly T., two skeleton friends out for an especially spooky Halloween night on the town in their convertible. It’s not really said what they’re doing from the start – going out to watch a Halloween night drive-thru movie, maybe? In the intro cutscene, they pull up next to some houses and muse on the increasing fear factor of Halloween. Their friend (maybe?) Big Skull shows up unexpectedly by crashing into the ground and destroying several houses. Big Skull has grave news: Halloween is in danger, and they have to save it. By, uh, collecting candy?

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As you spend the entirety of the game in a car, the game plays with fairly standard car physics. Skelly T., in the driver’s seat, has a giant unwieldy hand with which they can grab things. Skeletony, in the passenger’s seat, spends most of the game with their arms flapping in the air – appearing to have the time of their (undead) life. Or maybe just terrified.
Though the game is excruciatingly easy, it bears mentioning that the controls are a little bit slippery. Since the object of the game is to use your giant hand to grab at unsuspecting candies, it should stand that this is an easy task, but there were points where Unity’s physics, Skelly T.’s slippery body, and our improbably lightweight car seemed to be fighting against us.

The controls are REALLY bad, but in an amusing way. Although it got a little frustrating to nab some of the more well-hidden candies, we had the time of our lives watching Skelly T. flail his enormous bone arm around while Skeletony whined in pain as we ran into giant mushrooms. The physics are clunky, and you’re going to hear Skeletony’s “ouch!” quite a bit as you get stuck in giant pumpkins. We didn’t feel this was a detriment though: we thought it was absolutely hilarious. It doesn’t really make the game any harder or more difficult to complete.

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As the point of the game is to find these seven candies, of course they’re well hidden across the map. Big Skull watches us peacefully from the sky as we roam across, diving into giant flower pots and climbing onto mushrooms to find each and every candy. As we can only see what our car’s headlights illuminate, it takes a lot of driving around to properly see the candies. We fumble with our gigantic arm and grab several until Halloween is finally saved.

Where I am dead shines is unquestionably in its aesthetic attributes: the entire game is rendered in deliberate low color resolution, akin to selecting “256 Colors” on an old version of Windows. With limited texture usage and a pallet of almost all dark reds and purples, the imagery is almost too spooky to handle. The soundtrack too is dark and brooding, with ominous synth chorus piercing droning strings.

After the fact…

It took 8 minutes for us to finish this game, and we enjoyed every second of it. We felt like it was one of the most charming little indie experiences we had played in a long time. From the adorable characters, to the wonderfully eerie atmosphere, and even the hilarious ending sequence, we couldn’t find a single thing that didn’t make us smile.

Completable in half an hour: Yes
5 out of 5 – Simply Superb!
The only gripes we had were Unity’s physics (which we’ve never been fond of, so consider it personal bias) and the dark visuals making it a little clumsy to figure out game goals, but these are very minor compared to how much fun this game was. Halloween is one of our most favorite holidays, and we consider this to be one of our favorite Halloween games.

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You can download I am dead from itch.io for free, or name your own price.

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