Review of Death Mark

deathmarkvita

Screenshots can be deceptive. Based on Death Mark’s promotional images, I expected this horror title from Aksys Games to be a first person dungeon crawler. In actuality it is a visual novel with point and click adventure segments. Over the course of five chapters, which took me around six hours to finish, players take control of an amnesiac whose wrist has been branded with the titular Death Mark. At first glance said marking looks like a cool tattoo. Early on in the story however it is revealed that the Death Mark is a curse placed on the protagonist by a vengeful spirit. Unless he is able to rid himself of it, our hero is fated to die within the next few days. Regrettably for him, erasing the Death Mark will prove to be more painful than enduring a session of laser tattoo removal.

OVERVIEW

Death Mark’s hub world is a mansion that once belonged to a paranormal expert. The player controlled character is based there, as he is searching the estate for clues on how to cure his condition. His investigation hasn’t uncovered much, but on the plus side he does find a cute talking doll that resembles a character right out of Rozen Maiden. At the start of each chapter more victims, who have been cursed, show up at the mansion’s doorstep. They seek help with escaping the fate that has befallen them. Unlike the main character, who has no memory of his past, the visitors have some idea of where they got marked. They take the protagonist to said location, hoping that he can defeat the spectre that roams there. In theory, exorcising the ghost should purge the hex it cast on them.

By using the d-pad players can navigate each area. The levels available to explore include a sewer, an abandoned school and a forest frequented by suicidal folk. Crikey, this game is starting to sound like a Logan Paul simulator! Via the use of the analogue stick players can aim a flashlight, which is used to examine objects and pick up items. The inventory procured is in turn used to solve puzzles. Pretty standard stuff. Open a locked door with a key, use bug spray to kill bees that block your path and um, repair an elevator with condoms. Wow, I don’t recall MacGyver ever doing anything like that. Items are also required to defeat the phantoms you encounter. Every now and then the player is placed in perilous Life or Death situations. These come in the form of timed events, were an action needs to be selected from a multiple choice list of options. Picking the wrong response will result in damage and potential death.

VERDICT

My rating for Death Mark is a four out of five. If you enjoyed Corpse Party: Book of Shadows I imagine you will like Death Mark, as they both have similar gameplay. Don’t expect much in the way of animation, as this is one of those titles that relies on text and still pictures to tell its story. The main campaign has two endings to unlock. How each chapter concludes is determined by the choices made during the end of level boss fight. Overall I liked the cast of characters you partner up with, over the course of the adventure, and the game’s plot. Aside from the main mystery, of who cursed the protagonist, each chapter serves as a stand alone ghost tale. It’s interesting to discover the tragic origins responsible for birthing the creatures you are pitted against.

Anyone who is left wanting more, after the end credits roll, can purchase the two-hour DLC for a bonus chapter. This applies to the Vita version only. For some reason the other console releases come complete with the extra chapter. That may seem harsh, for long suffering Vita fans, but it all evens out, as the edition on Sony’s handheld is the cheapest to buy. In terms of scares Death Mark isn’t too terrifying. The developers try to make things creepy with sound effects and the odd jump scare, but none of it phased me. I only had to change my underwear two times. All that said, I would only recommend Death Mark to gamers who are in their late teens or older. Apart from the occasional gruesome death the game includes a few kinky images. These include a bondage scene involving plant vines, a picture of a naked woman who is covered in serpents and a spirit possession that causes one of your female partners to strip. Maybe that’s what Ray Parker meant when he said (ghost) busting makes me feel good.

24 thoughts on “Review of Death Mark

    • It’s developed by a company called Experience, who have previously made first person dungeon crawlers. Maybe the game originally started life as a DRPG and was later turned into a novel with some puzzles and exploration? The characters even have stats, even though they don’t seem to do anything.

      • That does sound plausible. There have been many instances in which I was expecting something wildly different than what I got and I ended up being pleasantly surprised as a result. That’s how I felt when I watched Giant for the first time. It’s when marketers deliberately lie to potential buyers that I get annoyed.

        If the characters have seemingly useless stats, my first guess would be that they’re part of a plot twist.

  1. “The game includes a few kinky images… and a spirit possession that causes one of your female partners to strip.”
    “My rating for Death Mark is a four out of five.”

    Purely unrelated I’m sure…. 😉 😛

    • Eye candy never hurts when it comes to this blog’s rating process. Some other sites listed the kinky moments as a con. Guess they haven’t watched many horror films. Studios have often mixed titillation into their films in the past.

    • Glad that I was able to bring this game to your attention. Death Mark has gotten positive marks from the outlets that covered it. The game itself didn’t get much publicity though, so I’m not surprised to hear that you haven’t heard of it till now.

  2. I’m looking forward to trying this. Aksys just opened up a European store, so I immediately ordered an LE of this, though it’s not out here until February. I’m just glad to finally be able to support them without having to import or go digital-only.

  3. This game sounds perfect to me. I don’t care much for animation. Text and still pictures will do. I hope the soundtrack is good. Probably will pick this up when price drops as I’m in no rush to play.

    Do people really wet themselves playing horror games? Such an exaggeration.

    • I’m not a big music person, but I thought the soundtrack was decent. You can probably find it if you search YouTube. Some people probably wet themselves, when they are scared, even if it is rare thing. Heck, I know some people who said they “peed a little” after laugh too much at something.

  4. At least the Vita version costs less since it doesn’t have the DLC. It stinks when you pay for the version you prefer but another edition comes with extras and is cheaper.
    I’ll keep this in mind for when this goes on sale or gets a price drop. Might have been on sale during Aksys’ Black Friday sale, but I just glanced right over it if it was.

    • Yeah, companies should do a better job of rewarding early adopters. Often people who buy something straight away get a worse deal in the long run. With regards to the Vita version of this game, I think the price is just cheaper because Vita titles tend to retail for less than PS4/Switch. One negative about the Vita version is that it has fewer trophies.

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  6. Sounds creepy, but I love creepy games so that’s a good thing 😀 Fixing an elevator with condoms, is an interesting feat of engineering. Not sure if I’d want to get in the elevator though, if it was repaired in that manner. 😂😂

    The footage in the video reminds me of an old game for PS3, where you had to escape from an asylum, filled with super pale psychotic mutant people/zombies. 🙂 It has the same creepy torch action and background music 😀

    • It was an unconventional repair job. Basically the main character uses the contraceptive as an elastic to hold down a lever. Not what Durex had in mind, when they manufactured the product, but it got the job done.

  7. I’m going to have to give this a watch on YouTube. I was expecting to read about a game full of jump scares but this sounds way more interesting. I might have to skip the elevator repair part though.

    • Death Mark’s gameplay is pretty basic, so I imagine you could enjoy it just by checking out a Let’s Play. The elevator fix happens in the optional DLC. It’s the longest chapter and worth checking out, as it stars all the characters from the past levels.

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  9. Hi there! 🙂
    I’ve played “Death Mark” on the Nintendo Switch and it was really good. I enjoy horror games and this one was captivating until the end. I liked the visual novel/adventure genre and I wished it was a little longer.

  10. Hi there! 🙂
    I’ve played “Death Mark” on the Nintendo Switch and it was really good. I enjoy horror games and this one was captivating until the end. I liked the visual novel/adventure genre and I wished it was a little longer.

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