Sawbuck Gamer

The Brink

Do Fear The Reaper

The Brink teaches us about life’s one great certainty (apologies to Grover Norquist).

By Drew Toal • February 20, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Agency in one’s own demise is a loaded topic. Does a person have the right to choose the manner and time of their own death? Is it ethical to keep someone alive on machines if they have no realistic possibility of recovery? Does a person’s chance of survival improve if they’re a fighter? Somewhere on the Kevorkian-Schiavo axis spins The Brink, a deceptively cute meditation on death and dying.

You play the one entity whose opinion on the subject brooks no debate, a little grim reaper trying to avoid sticky little hearts, disembodied heads, and guys in business suits trying like mad to stop him from doing whatever grim business he has set about doing. The clock is also an enemy (as it is for us all), and destroying far-flung nodes extends your playing time. The settings switch between green fields, clouds, and a sterile hospital setting. None of it makes a ton of sense, at least until you get to the end of the game, where you must fight a six-armed geriatric intent on making sure you’ve reaped your last geezer. This multi-limbed senior citizen is fighting like mad, against you, to prolong his fading life. He rages against the dying of the light, but, in the end, he only has enough fight to last through three levels, and we all know how this thing is going to end. Adios, abuelo.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.podgor Mike Podgor

    The game kept glitching on me on the final level, causing the timer to freeze. Time didn’t stop, however, and so I was totally clueless as to how much time I had left. This may be part of the game, some sort of metaphor about how we never really know when our time will come, but I think it might have just been an error in the programming.

    • exant

      I wish everyone at work was so thoughtfully allegorical about the bugs and mistakes I write into code.

      Code reviews would certainly be more interesting: “The missing scope declaration on line 200 is an unacceptably clichéd metaphor for forgotten childhood dreams, please correct this”

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2904349 Patrick Augustine

        Well then, I noticed that in a couple of levels, after you destroyed the orbs, they would remain there, invisible, blocking your path.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mrbananagrabber Aaron Boyer

    I couldn’t play the game without it constantly wanting to scroll down to the end of the screen so I couldn’t tell what I was doing.