Death Jr for the PSP

Genre:  Platformer
Platform:  PSP

Death Jr. is a quirky game on the PSP.  It was an early release on the handheld and reminded me a bit of Psychonauts.  It’s got the same macabre feel and the graphics are unique.  The story is fun as well.

You play as DJ (Death Jr), a kid just trying to make it through school.  One day, something goes very wrong at school and it’s up to you to save your friends.  Each friend has a level that you need to clear in order to save them.  The story was solid enough to keep me wanting more.  It’s also fairly humorous, which I always appreciate.

The game play is fun.  You can either slash with your scythe, which also lets you grab items mid-air and glide to safety.  You can also equip a gun, but ammo is an issue.  You get better guns as you go and upgrades to your scythe.  There are collectible items, although not many.  The monsters are numerous and unique as well.  Much of the environment is destructible.

So why am I not gushing over this game yet?  It has a terrible flaw.  You can’t control the camera.  You can center the camera behind you, but you can’t freely move it.  This really kills the game for me and will likely prevent me from finishing it.  It also makes heavy use of the PSP’s analog nub, which can lead to hand cramps.  I have a comfort grip, which lessens this somewhat, but it’s still not the best design.

You can find this game fairly cheap (~$5) and I would recommend picking it up.  It’s different enough to be fun and the story is solid.  It’s best played in short bursts, however.

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