Flash in the Pan #1 – “No-one Has to Die”

Greetings, all! I’m FairyGodmoose, and I’m one of Nerd Vice’s brand-spanking new writers.

I’ve got a big ol’ film analysis series a-trickling down the pipeline, but I’m still buffing it out to make sure it’s as unique and entertaining as I can muster. In the meantime, here’s the inaugural installment of my secondary series. Flash in the Pan will take a look at various free-to-play online Flash games, the kind found on sites like Newgrounds and Kongregate. While I will analyze and review the games, I’ll only be covering the ones I liked enough to share with others. If you’ve ever got a smidgen more time on your hands than you know what to do with, try some of these gems.

nhtd banner

Our first feature is “No-one Has to Die” by Stuart Madafiglio. In this game, the offices of the Fenix Corporation are burning down, and your job is to shepherd the four remaining employees to safety. By locking doors and releasing water valves, you can either redirect or contain the fire, allowing the characters to descend from floor to floor. Sounds simple enough, right? Yeah, the puzzles don’t take long at all to figure out. Here’s the catch: contrary to what the title would have you believe, every puzzle requires the death of at least one employee. Which employees survive and which fall victim, that’s up to you, and you’ll get a very different ending each time.

nhtd tree

Behind the straightforward mechanics of “No-one Has to Die” lies a masterfully crafted narrative about conspiracies and moral dilemmas. The deaths of the employees don’t change the overarching story, but they do determine how much of that story you learn. Each puzzle forces you to make a careful choice between the characters you like and the characters you need. The very first puzzle is the perfect example; rescue the office goofball and you get the satisfaction of keeping him alive for a “will-they-won’t-they” relationship with his coworker, but rescue the murderer who set the fire and you get a startling look into what’s really going on at the Fenix Corporation. In the end, you can only ensure one employee lives to tell the tale, but which employee that is depends on the playthrough. To fully appreciate “No-one Has to Die”, make sure you’ve completed everyone’s path, because doing so unlocks the true ending. The whole shebang takes just under an hour.

nhtd tutorial

All in all, “No-one Has to Die” is a real pleasure. These puzzles may be laughably easy, but the point is to challenge your perceptions, not your problem-solving skills. The graphics are fittingly minimalist. The music ranges from pulse-poundingly catchy to haunting. The story is occasionally bogged down by the explanations of its finer points, but for the most part the twists are excellent (your mileage may vary a bit depending on the order of your endings). And if you’re a softy like me, you’ll get attached to the characters and find yourself riddled with regret that the title is a cruel lie.

…or is it?

Guess you’ll have to head over to http://die.clay.io/ and find out for yourselves.

lionel

FairyGodmoose (12 Posts)

Hey folks, I'm FairyGodmoose (Figgy for short)! I gravitate toward cult films, kids shows, and a whole mess of whatnot in-between.