A gunshot fires. From that moment onwards you must solve the biggest mystery of all; your death.
Why Am I Dead is a browser game created by Patrick McGrath under Peltast Design and has us take control of the spirit of our deceased protagonist as we have to find out the circumstances surrounding our death in a hotel. The controls are simple enough though a cool feature and the main feature and appeal of the game is that we can possess the living bodies of those around us and leave them at any time, allowing us to talk to the living while choosing the best questions and answers that can help solve the case. This game means for those mystery solving fans a great way to solve the case as it’ll be all the characters in the game itself who will ultimately reveal how we died.
It’s a good concept and right from the start, a haunting music plays as we look over the carnage of the room we have died in. We move up and possess the body of our first character, Cricket before we start talking to Randy. From then on the story slowly starts to unravel and without wanting to spoil too much, we discover in the first moments that we were the hotel owner and we’re stuck in the middle of a terrible storm, which the creator uses to his advantage as we start walking about the hotel.
You’ll hear the rain pouring as you walk the hotels corridors and moving from one area to the next means a thunderbolt echos around the hotel. Each room has a small funky track playing or when you’re in your spirit form and you ‘talk’ to someone they turn round giving an idea they feel a presence (whether this was intended I don’t know but it works well) as well as one of the funnier interrogations of the game taking place in the toilet area. It’s these small things in a game that make the experience that more immersive.
So we begin our investigation and before I had a chance to finish the game, I thought of how great this game is for you could unknowingly be controlling the killer at any moment which means you could be unknowingly helping the killer at any moment. The game also leaves the investigation up to the player, so there are no menus or prompts telling you to talk to person A or go to Room B, meaning you’ll have to pay attention to everything everyone says to see how to progress in the game. I obviously won’t say anything else specific on the story, for this is what the whole game revolves around and I wouldn’t want to spoil anything, so let’s move on and look at a few more things.
Each character has different views, personalities and hold different reactions depending on who you possess while talking to them and most of these are downright hilarious, which lightens the mood in a game of a murder and to progress you’ll have to build up a trust with certain people or interact with characters while possessing different ones, while you uncover more about each individual and yourself, as well as the events around the time of your death.
This means that even though you may not remember each character’s name, you’ll recognize each character and immediately associate a personality to them, which in any investigation game is essential so the player doesn’t get lost in the wave of similar faces and names. My favourite character had to be the punching bag Orvall, who even at the mere sight of him the people of the hotel will tell him to back off, simply glare at him or scream in terror and it’s this kind of example that should show how each character has a unique place in Why Am I Dead.
Speaking of the hotel and characters, the graphics and look of the game feels like an old RPG and each character stands out individually as well as the colours being crisp and clear with just a few minor hiccups which don’t influence gameplay at all.
Although I later did encounter a game breaking instance between the two main hallways where I had left my characters to close between the two areas and they can get stuck with one another, with no way of moving them, meaning I had to reset my whole progress, much to my frustration. It is also a shame that there is no way to save your progress, though you can pause the game at any moment and return when you feel like it.
Pros – Good idea that draws you in, every character memorable, enjoyable to piece everything together as you try to find the killer.
Cons – No save option, game breaking where characters can get stuck with one another meaning no other option but to restart, why is the pause button so small yet the return to main menu so big?
Fear – N/A
Sound – Sound is effective and really sets the mood.
Horror –The fact that you play as a spirit to take control of the people of the hotel, one of which is the killer is a great idea.
World –Every character stands out and their interactions work well, as well as believable backstories.
Why Am I Dead has us take the role of the victim as we try to piece together the events surrounding our own death. It’s a great concept and I enjoyed the way it unraveled and by the end of it, if you’d payed attention enough, you can figure it out. Why Am I Dead isn’t too long or to deep but is nevertheless an enjoyable experience.
Official Game Page – http://www.peltastdesign.com/waid/