Most gamers want games that are solid: no bugs, no jankiness, just great gameplay mechanics and solid presentation. But sometimes it’s fun to play a game that’s ridiculously janky. I’m not talking about broken, or glitchy—but games that use exaggerated (or reduced) physics engines, and unusual control schemes. I think the first popular game with this idea was Goat Simulator, but it definitely wasn’t the last. Just Die Already uses a similar open world concept, but instead of a hapless goat getting itself into trouble, you play as an old pensioner trying to knock items off of your bucket list.
Just Die Already is an open world sandbox game where you’re trying to have as much fun as you can before you die. Stuck in an abusive, restrictive retirement home, your first goal is to escape into the greater world to get busy living instead of waiting around to die. There are four retirees to choose from– but as far as I can tell the only difference between them is cosmetic. After making your choice, and some shenanigans, you are literally kicked from your retirement home. Now out on the street, you have to perform tasks to earn tickets—after all, it’s more fun than laying around, waiting to die.
The best part of Just Die Already is just the sheer amount of interactivity in its sandbox open world. It’s hard to walk a few feet without a new vehicle, item, or scenario to get your character into trouble. Use fire extinguishers to fly, run around attacking random people with weapons, dodge cars, and a whole lot more. Since it’s a physics-based sandbox, I’m sure there are all sorts of emergent scenarios and fun to be had, especially with friends–everything is better with friends. Almost every object in Just Die Already can be grabbed, and if small enough, dragged around or be swung around. It can be hilarious if you manage to grab ahold of a moving vehicle, or find something to propel yourself around. Death and dismemberment are real possibilities, however—but that doesn’t mean the end of the game.
Just Die Already isn’t for the squeamish, but while its gore does fall on the side of “gratuitous,” it’s cartoony enough to get away with it. It also helps that losing a limb, or even all of your limbs, isn’t enough to stop your old person. Broken bones heal surprisingly fast, and unless you’re out of blood, you can roll around with little more than a pelvis. Of course, if you want your limbs back, you can magically reappear in the nearest dumpster, intact and full of life.
While Just Die Already is the sort of fun that’s hard to put a score on, or criticize due to its open nature, I do think I can say this: Just Die Already gets boring, fast. The amount and nature of activities in Just Die Already are impressive, but even so, it’s the same few interactions which inevitably leave your character rag dolling around, spurting blood from a stump that used to be an intact limb. It took me only an hour or so before I was just checking items off of my bucket list to see as much content as I could. Playing with friends would undoubtedly extend the game’s lifespan, but even then, once you take away the onus to complete tasks, you’re left with “old person dying is funny” and even ignoring how bleak that is, the humor rarely lands in Just Die Already.
It’s hard not to find amusement with wonky video game interactions. I watch Grand Theft Auto V speedrunners because some of the tactics they use put the characters in ridiculous situations. The absurdity is funny. And that’s the type of absurdity that propels the humor in Just Die Already—the parts I actually found funny. The rest is a little miserable. There are lots of anti-boomer jokes, which I totally get, but it’s not really done too well here. I’m not against offending boomers, satirizing zoomers, or even poking fun at my own generation of millennials, but Just Die Already just tries too damn hard to be funny. I never laughed at a single joke. Humor is obviously subjective, and you might find Just Die Already hilarious, but its humor just didn’t land for me.
Just Die Already is a fun sandbox physics game, but that fun wears out quickly. While there are lots of things to interact with in its open world sandbox, nothing was able to keep me entertained for more than a few minutes. While I found amusement in its absurd physics, Just Die Already has a sense of humor that just didn’t work for me. If you like games like Goat Simulator, you might find some fun here—but bring friends for maximum enjoyment.
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