Last year, a most unique party game hit Kickstarter. Its name is Death Stair and the title raised a little over $13,000 AUD (close to $9,000 US) from a few hundred people. How did this happen from such a little-known title? Easy, the concept is simple and appealing enough to lure folks in the minute they see it for the first time. So, what the heck is Death Stair anyway and does it actually have anything to do with stairs? Yes, in fact, it has all to do with them.
This is an asymmetric multiplayer title where three players must simply run up a long flight of stairs. The problem is that one other player is at the very top of these stairs and reigns a variety of obstacles down at them to stop this progress. For example, they might throw down massive beach balls to smack the player straight in the head. In other instances, they may throw down a land mine or ten. If stepped on, this will cause the player to be forced back down a few steps. It might seem easy to simply dodge static land mines, but not when a beach ball knocks you straight into one. Heck, sometimes the force from one land mine might throw you onto another, leading to a hilariously extended scene of your character ragdolling down the steps like mad.
There are many other means of attack in Death Stair for the one at the top. They may throw down bouncy fireballs, shoot slick ice on the floor, and even more. The fact of the matter is that actually making it up the steps is a huge challenge – but not impossible. Because the stairs are in fact so long, and sometimes curved, the shooter is unable to make perfect shots every time. The further down the stairs people are, the harder it is to aim accurately. The attacked players also have a longer time to see an incoming projectile and dodge accordingly. This asymmetric playstyle is great at getting the three stair players to work together to try and ensure at least one of them makes it to the top. Once the match ends, roles switch up, giving those beat down players a shot at using weapons on everyone else.
Visually, Death Stair looks just as weird as its concept sounds. There are four characters to play as an each is a bit of an oddball. This makes sense given the strange premise and makes shooting down these characters even more amusing. Although it may not be the most gorgeous title out there, the core gameplay is such that there’s no time to analyze the graphics. Players on the stairs get a third person view which is perfect for avoiding obstacles (or being forced to watch their ragdoll go careening down flights of stairs when they screw up).
Because of the speed involved, it might seem like Death Stair is one of those local multiplayer exclusive titles. Actually, it’s set to work for online play as well. This is great as it expands the potential popularity, meaning more folks might feel the intense amusement/rage of this game. It has been mentioned as coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One although it appears the PC iteration will be the first one available. Developer RnD Labs are currently targeting a mid-August release for Death Stair so keep an eye out.