Five Years Later, Let It Die Is Still An Underrated Gem

Climbing up a tower for a skateboarding skeleton while wearing nothing but underwear and eating random mushrooms, rats, and frogs to stay alive.

I had the opportunity to demo Let It Die before it was released in 2016 and immediately fell in love with the game. It’s a love that I’ve carried with me over the last five years, with me often returning to Let It Die to play for a while before setting it off to the side again.

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I’ve never abandoned the game completely, maybe because I can often find comfort in playing it during emotionally stressful times in my life. It’s hard to feel sad when you’re beating an enemy to death with a metal pipe while wearing nothing but a pair of underwear and a traffic cone on your head. 

Based on that description alone, you probably won’t be all that surprised to hear me say Let It Die is one of the weirdest games I’ve ever played. It totally is, but as someone who’s pretty weird themselves, the weirdness of it has always been a pro not a con.

Five Years Later, Let It Die Is Still An Underrated Gem

In Let It Die, you’re essentially trying to make your way up a large multilevel tower called the Tower of Barbs using reanimated human corpses called Fighters. 

You start out with nothing in Let It Die, so you’ll have to scavenge random weapons and supplies. In terms of supplies, a big one is clothes, at least in the beginning.

You start the game pretty much naked (no bare bums exposed, you do get some underwear), but no worries as you can often pick stuff up off dead enemies. Or from random suitcases lying around on the ground. 

This supply collection aspect of the game is made fun, rather than tedious, by how strange and random the items you pick up are. 

You want to smack enemies around with an iron or a shovel? Go for it. You want to wear a cone on your head while running around in your underwear picking mushrooms and eating frogs? Have at it. 

In terms of core gameplay and how these items come into play, while climbing the tower in Let It Die, you’ll encounter zombie-like enemies called Screamers, assorted “Tuber” enemies like the Bone Tuber, and special enemy types born from other players who’ve perished while climbing the tower. 

Those types of enemies are called Haters, and some can be a real pain to deal with as they can be a much higher level than regular enemies on the floor you’re exploring.

Meanwhile, there are a number of boss enemies that all make a pretty memorable first impression on you, with some sporting nightmarish body horror Junji Ito-like features, and others feeling like something straight out of Akira.

They create a lot of oh sh*t moments. 

Image Source: Gameranx

Not only are there unique main bosses called Dons – including a literal human grenade named Colonel Jackson – there are several mid-bosses like JIN-DIE that defy all description. Thankfully there’s information in the game’s lore that sum things up, sort of, including this excerpt:

“JIN-DIE is 7 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 950 pounds. She was created by combining multiple people into one. She was an unfinished experiment and suffers from poor hearing.

Instead, she has exceptional vision and can immediately recognize and identify any target within her range of sight. She collects the heads of those she has vanquished, and uses them as ammunition for the railgun which is attached to her stomach.” 

And yeah… I’d say that does a decent job at demonstrating the levels of absurdity that you can expect from Let It Die…

Except it gets even stranger than that when you factor in all of the other gameplay elements from the friendly skateboarding skeleton named Uncle Death to the sheer number of mushroom types found in the game. 

On the wiki for Let It Die, there are over 60 different mushroom types listed, each with different properties. You come across these mushrooms throughout the game, and can either eat them for status effects, or use them as weapons.

If you eat the wrong type of mushroom don’t worry, your character can violently vomit afterwards to uh, clear their system. 

In the Waiting Room, which acts as your home base, you can talk to Momoko Yamada the “Mushroom Magistrate” and exchange special Skillshrooms for Skill Decals which are collectible stickers that go on your Fighter’s body and offer benefits like increasing your ATK and DEF, increasing max HP, and so on. 

If mushrooms aren’t your thing, the game offers other gourmet delicacies to help keep your Fighter alive such as frogs, snails, and scorpions. Don’t worry, you can cook them over an open flame if you like, the same goes for mushrooms. 

There’s also a multiplayer element to Let It Die, the Tokyo Death Metro, where other players can raid your Waiting Room to try and steal resources from you. Of course, you can also raid other players for resources, including the Fighters of other players.

That’s right, you can kidnap someone’s Fighter and hold them hostage in your Waiting Room’s extra special holding area… the restrooms. So, if you’re not feeling up for tower climbing, you can always partake in raids and wreak as much havoc as you like there.

And when you’ve had your fill of raids, there are plenty of other things to do while in the Waiting Room such as sharing Blueprints found in the Tower of Barbs with Kommodore Suzuki, checking your Rewards Box, managing your Fighters via the Fighter Freezer (yes, they’re stored in a giant freezer), and more.

Perhaps the best thing about Let It Die though is the fact that it’s free-to-play. The game has microtransactions, and there have been valid complaints about these from players both in the past and in the present.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that Let It Die can be played and enjoyed without spending a dime. Over the last five years that I’ve been playing the game, I think I’ve spent a grand total of $10. That’s it. 

I never felt like I had to spend that money, I simply wanted to. I was enjoying the game that much. I was happy to spend that money. And, I have to say, I can’t help but appreciate a game that can make me feel that level of investment.

On Steam, I’ve put almost 80+ hours into Let It Die. On PlayStation, where I first started playing the game, that number is easily 200+ hours. For all that time spent playing Let It Die, only putting down $10 isn’t bad at all.

Let It Die is a game I would have easily spent $60 on when it first came out, and still would to this day, though I do have concerns about how much longer the game will be supported. It’s been five years already, and Let It Die hasn’t had much luck in being the most popular free-to-play game on offer. 

Still… it’s up and running, and it’s just as much fun now as it was five years ago. That’s all that really matters.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out Let It Die, I think it’s definitely worth dedicating some time to, especially if you’re looking for a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. 

It’s absurd, it’s fun, it’s addictive, and five years after its initial release, it remains one of the best free-to-play games I’ve ever played. If you want to check it out, Let It Die is available for free on PlayStation and PC via Steam

Related: Indie Games RETROspective | Stephen King’s Discordia


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Morgan Shaver
Morgan is a writer, metalhead, horror lover, and indie game enthusiast. When it comes to games, they love nothing more than to wax poetic about all the latest and greatest indies to anyone who'll listen. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver