You’re Spawn 99, AKA The Grim Reaper, working for Fate themselves. Your job in Death and Taxes is simple, decide which people in awful situations don’t quite make it through.
Placehodler Gamerworks’ presskit says that Death and Taxes has been created with a view to conjuring up “a deep and emotional response in its players”, and considering that it cites ‘Papers. Please.’ and other similar titles among its influences, it’s no surprise that your time playing will be spent manning a desk. Control of the afterlife, as it turns out, is extremely bureaucratic — but rather than PPH and reports your KPIs are based around ensuring enough people die on your watch.
It’s not just making sure that enough people don’t quite manage to move out of the way of that falling sheet of glass, or lose their grip while doing daredevil selfies. There’s also extra rules and expectations about those who need to die. Fate has other plans, including the continued existence of the human race… Fate, your line-manager that is.
I’ve been playing the latest demo of the game (which was released back in November but I forgot how to navigate itch.io) and have been enjoying the humour which the team manage to squeeze into an otherwise dire situation. Some of them are delivered in the humans you have to choose between (including, early on, a clear cinema reference to Armaggeddon the film), however most of them come in the little phone updates which you receive after each day ends. Sometimes you’ll hear how they died, sometimes you’ll hear effects of their death or continued life; Take out the man on a vendetta against all confection bar pretzels and you might find the world changing in strange ways.
One thing that isn’t in the demo build, but will be in the release build when it launches in February, is the persistence throughout your choices. It looks as though you’ll be able to rank up within the company, and gain access to accomodation as well as more tools in order to properly fulfill your daily quotas for kills.
We’ll have to see how it all turns out, but for now you can grab the demo and give it a quick look.
Death and Taxes will launch in February, but you can play the web version of the demo for free over on itch.io.