Games: Karoshi and Super Karoshi

played on: 22 & 23 May

Karoshi is a cute little platformer that you can get online. It’s rather morbidly derived from a Japanese word meaning “death through overwork” (trust the Japanese to have such a word, eh?? And don’t we all just love Sapir-Whorf jokes??), and the concept is that instead of “winning” each level by getting to the end, you have to kill the main character (I think he might be called Karoshi, I can’t remember).

Frankly, when I first heard the concept sometime last year, I thought it sounded stupid, because you’re just replacing a “victory” goal with a goal that looks like spikes and makes your wee man splatter blood all over the screen. But, well, as you might imagine, that’s very addictive. The first game, which I got for free when I was trying out the App Store (yeah, I know, sellout!), is a straight platformer with relatively set rules. Sadistic, for sure, but it follows those rules for at least most of the game. Super Karoshi, which I think is actually the fifth game, is the one that you can find on all the flash game websites and the one that I originally played last year, and has a slightly insane bent to its pre-existing sadism, with far more levels that require you to think outside the proverbial box, levels that alter the rules ad hoc and a series of fake endings. It also has its fair share of “normal” levels, and adds the mechanic of Super Karoshi, a superhero version of the character who can’t die but can fly, and must lead his comrades to their safety inevitable death.

So in comparison to Super Karoshi, which I already played a couple of times and is loads of fun, the original Karoshi is also fun, but feels quite boring by comparison. If I remember correctly, however, it has a few more challenging levels. And it’s definitely worth it, both of them.

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