Sara and Death
Sara and Death is a game by Rocco Salvetti, an indie developer from London. This isn’t Rocco’s first release, Sara and Death follows on from Clockwork Clara which is a quick play version of the fuller Sara and Death title.
Sara is a young woman whose time to die has come, so she gets a visit from the lady. Unwilling to accept her death at such an early age, Sara challenges Death to play a game. As long as Sara plays the game, she is alive. Perhaps, she might find a way out of the demise. For some curious reason, Death accepts the challenge, and so the game begins.
The game itself is a fiendishly tough philosophical and narrative driven puzzle game. It’s the Mensa version of Candy Crush. The game has deliberately been designed to be as challenging as possible, forcing the player to learn from experimenting and making mistakes, over and over again.
Sara and Death is composed of cubes within a selection of geometric shapes placed on a grid. You need to swipe right and left and up and down in an attempt to match them up. As you begin to progress through the game, different colours get introduced adding more complexity. Just when you think you’ve mastered the different colours, it gets really tricky with irregular shapes thrown into the mix. The game on its own would be a little bland, mindbogglingly difficult, but bland. But that’s when the games underlying themes kick in.
When Rocco contacted me and asked me to take a look at the game, one of the first things I noticed in the description was that he took inspiration from Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal. Set in Sweden during the Black Death, it tells the journey of a medieval knight and a game of chess he plays with the personification of Death, who has come to take his life. But there is another place Rocco took inspiration from, and that’s his doubts about love.
The artwork in Sara and Death is one of the key highlights of the game. It’s illustrated by Sara Bodini, the games namesake. Sara is Rocco’s alter ego in the game as they explore what they believe to be existential catches attached to falling in love.
That said, regardless of peoples doubts I fell in love with the style of art in Sara and Death. The atmosphere it creates, one of doom and gloom, is intensified through the bold colors standing in stark contrast.
Sara and Death is free to download, and I genuinely encourage everyone to do so. If you are bored of the same, repeated and washed out puzzle games, each one mimicking the one the before it, you’ll enjoy Sara and Death, as it offers something new. With limitless replay-ability, a great art style and fiendishly challenging puzzles, you’ll be picking up Sara and Death to play time and time again.
This review was originally written by Kris Wingfield-Bennett, ANDi’s Lead Marketer, for his personal website. The review has been republished here with the express permission of Rocco Salvetto.