If Mario had ever left his plumbing routines, and got a desk job that never has as much excitement and adventure like jumping over turtles and eating mushrooms while saving a damsel in distress, he would be pretty much like Mr. Karoshi here; though we are not sure if he would be as depressed. Karoshi is a Japanese man who is out now finding innovative ways to kill himself. He works a desk job from 9 to 5 every day of his life, and we guess he is tired of it all now. Like most of us really, no?
Fortunately, that opens up a very addictive side scrolling platformer that offers increasingly challenging ‘puzzles’ to solve. Karoshi plays very much like Mario, in fact even the ‘jump’ sound is borrowed directly from the popular series. You control the character with on screen buttons. There are left and right arrows to move in those directions and a jump button near the right thumb to hop onto platforms.
Each level presents you a set of steps you must achieve correctly to blow Karoshi into pieces. Like most such puzzle games, the player is required to manipulate objects and switches on each level to achieve the objective. For example, in one level, you will be required to place a metal box under a set of spikes by blowing it away with an explosive crate. Once that’s achieved, you must guide the character over the metal box and impale it against spikes overheard. Later on in the game, levels will also feature NPCs such as your wife or boss that will make you jump up higher in joy and jump lesser due to sadness, respectively.
Adding to the bizarre-ty of the story and the dark comic tone are the random cut-scenes throughout the game explaining further how unhappy Mr. Karoshi is. The scenes appear between levels, leading us to believe that the levels are more of his day-dreaming fantasies, of his imaginative ways to get out of his miserable life.
The game has a very retro look to it which only works in its favor. The Mario-esque color palate and peppy, surprisingly ‘happy’ soundtrack is charming and takes the pain away, somewhat, of repeatedly killing your character.
Karoshi is not exactly the kind game of that would cheer you up, especially if you suffer the same fate as the character. However, bar that, it’s an excellent puzzle game that should provide enough mind exercise on the go. For $0.99, it’s worth the ‘hit’.