Death has always been a form a punishment in video games. The lingering fear of starting an area over again from a poorly placed checkpoint after spending hours getting to end of a level is frustrating to endure. What if death was not a form of punishment but instead, required in order to proceed. Well, Life Goes On does just that with hilarious results.
Life Goes On is a 2D puzzle platformer that has endless streams of loyal knights carrying out the king’s request; acquiring the Cup of Life at the end of each level. Putting these unlimited lives to use will be essential to solve puzzling challenges that lie ahead. While the first handful of levels get you acclimated to the controls and concepts of how to use the sacrificial lambs, things start to ramp up as you progress. There are timers and a death count tally set in place to compete against to see how efficient you can complete each challenge. Unfortunately, there is no penalty for failing the time limit or death count as you can move on to the next level regardless of how long you spent sending knights to their doom.
Having no limitations on progression is actually a liberating thing in Life Goes On. This leaves everyone to experiment with their own extravagant notions on creative ways to complete each puzzle. Or, you can be like me and see how many bodies you can pile up in one area. With all sorts of contraptions littered among the levels, a lot of silly fun can be had. Conveyor belts with spikes, plumes of fire, electrical conduits and cold air blasts that freeze on contact are just some of the wonderful hazards to play with. Piling up bodies on a spiked conveyor belt so I can walk with ease across my fallen brothers is much more satisfying than precariously leaping on one single husk to the other side.
If you think the challenge not being present ruins any point of playing Life Goes On, you are sorely mistaken. Just figuring out how to get past some of the later levels are more than challenging enough. One level has multiple checkpoints where you will respawn after death. In order to retrieve the chalice, you must manipulate multiple switches in the right order as well as activating the right checkpoints. If that sounds like childs play to you, well there are other levels that will test your dexterity at traversing platforms. Freezing a body, respawning at a checkpoint, hustling over to the moving ice block and jumping off said ice block in mere seconds is just some of the difficult things needed to accomplish success over each puzzle.
Life Goes On is a simple yet challenging puzzle-solving platformer that is a blast to play in short bursts. Having no repercussions for lollygagging around while flinging countless bodies to their doom may hinder any sense of reward for some. For the rest though, finding out what other elaborate contraptions Infinite Monkeys has designed for us all is a reward all in its own.