You Only Live Once

Only the good die young. Also, the unfortunate.

A new week starts. Let’s go for a little Seize-The-Dayism via Simon Parkin via Raven’s Manveer Heir via the Internet. He describes it as “a game about Permanence and perma-death”. I describe it as “quite funny”. It’s called You Only Live Once and you can play it here.


  1. Thants says:

    That’s quite clever actually. One of the better of the recent games-as-commentary trend.

  2. MonkeyMonster says:

    I’m liking the continue options.

  3. Mike says:

    I see people are already looking for workarounds, deleting savegames and suchlike.

    The endgame is really quite funny. The PS3 game Rain has permadeath in it, doesn’t it? If a main character dies, you’re left with the remaining cast to pick up the slack and the plot shifts to compensate.

  4. GibletHead2000 says:

    Repeatedly refreshing after you’ve finished the game is amusing.

  5. Kieron Gillen says:

    Mike: Yeah, apparently, though we’ll wait for the release to make any sense of it. Not the first time that Quantic Dream have done it, of course – a death=death feature was in Omnikron: The Nomad Soul too.


  6. CMaster says:

    So, how far did everyone get?
    I got to a gap that it appeared you had to bounce off an enemy to complete, and the lizard got arressted on failure to comply with accessability law (by an american cop, oddly). I’m guessing at some point the game becomes impossible.

  7. Jacques says:

    This reminds me how much I absolutely suck at platform games :(

  8. Lack_26 says:

    I died at the first chasm, I forgot how much I suck.

  9. D says:

    I do believe (on my second try) that the chasm with the green lizard to jump on, to get over, is quite impossible to get past. Am I right?

  10. D says:

    Oh yes, I was wrong. But that jump is misleadingly hard, from showing up so early on.

  11. Ian says:

    To think I almost closed the tab with a mutter of “that was balls” when I died.

  12. Lilliput King says:

    Hehe, that was fun. If you do manage to make it all the way through in one go (natch), there is a “good” ending.

  13. Shakey-Lo says:

    i liked the idea, poor choice of screenshot for the article though, kind of spoils it don’t you think?

  14. Dzamir says:

    I started the game and I suicided to see what happens. Now I can’t ever try to play :'(

  15. Dzamir says:


  16. Dzamir says:


  17. Kieron Gillen says:

    Shakey-Lo: The Titanic sinks.


  18. Jubaal says:

    Ah, very nicely done.

    However I too died at the first jump. I feel slightly ashamed….

  19. Tei says:

    So the commentary is that all these religions about re-encarnation are lies? DAMNIT!

  20. Markoff Chaney says:

    That was quite enjoyable. Fresh chuckles were elicited with each press of the continue button and reloading the game (naturally to see if I could improve on my prior attempt or get a different baddie arrested for my demise) made the game even better. Excellent commentary and quite hilarious to boot. A good start to a Monday morning. :)

  21. Elman says:

    Died at the chasm with that green thing you have to jump on, which is extremely hard to do before they even let you get a feel of the game physics…

    Nice concept, but it annoys me that you only get one try.

  22. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    link to

  23. Unlucky Irish says:

    Actually a game based on reincarnation; where, after each death, you return as a fundamentally different character based on previous performance would be rather interesting.

    Also, I doubt the game is “commentary” on anything. It merely acts as a vehicle for the joke(s) about the characters death.

  24. Pags says:

    @KG: The death=death aspect of Omikron was balanced out by encountering other PCs that you could continue the story from. Quantic Dream are clever bastards.

    This is clever too, but not quite as clever. The continue options are excellent though.

  25. Raitendo says:

    @Lucky-Irish: In that case, why can’t you restart the game?

  26. Kieron Gillen says:

    Pags: I probably should go back to Nomad Soul. It was one of the first games I reviewed when I started working at PCG.


  27. LewieP says:

    The Fire Emblem games have permadeath too.

    I played the same guys previous game “Free Will”, and I don’t think I get it, can someone explain it to me?

  28. Unlucky Irish says:

    @Raitendo: Good point, I would say it’s because the creator of “You Only Live Once” is aware that the more times you here/see a joke the less funny it becomes. By only letting you die once, and thus only see the punch-line once, they cement “You Only Live Once” as a rather smart interactive joke rather than just a run of the mill platformer with an annoying death sequence.

  29. MacBeth says:

    If you *really* want to play it again, then you can… not sure if it’s good form to explain how though? RPS Ethics Committee – hold forth:

  30. Psychopomp says:


  31. Rosti says:

    Ack – closed my browser after a few doors and it registered as death; how important is it that I find another computer to see the ‘end?

  32. LionsPhil says:

    So, with patience waning, is there anything beyond the grass growing?

  33. LionsPhil says:

    Rosti: Right-click, Settings, Local Storage, slide it down to zero. Thwarted.

  34. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    @LionsPhil Flowers

  35. Pags says:

    @KG: do it! Would love to hear some thoughts on it too because it’s a game I never grow tired of talking about. In terms of ideas, it did so many things right that it far outweighed the things it did wrong.

  36. Moonracer says:

    nicely done.

  37. sean says:

    It’s all gimmick and no game…

    Why not play Calamity Annie? A more serious take on permanence.

  38. Calabi says:

    Thats genius all games should be like that(or at least the really rubbish ones).

  39. Dean says:

    I tried to go back to Nomad Soul recently, but it’s passed the point of no return interface-wise. Almost keyboard only control – no camera on the mouse.

  40. Persus-9 says:

    @ KG, Pags et al: I’d quite like to read a retrospective on The Nomad Soul as well. It’s a game that every time I remember it I wonder if I should go back to. Back in the day the smashing of the fourth wall and the silly soul travelling plot really irked me in such an otherwise serious feeling game and I gave up on it shortly after my first player character died. It has been 10 years and I’ve certainly changed a lot in that time so maybe I’ve mellowed enough that it would be worth having another go because there’s obviously something a little bit special there. On the other hand the central idea of it still irritates me. There’s just something about breaking the fourth wall in a non-comedic fashion in a story with demons and souls and other such dualist clap trap really rubs me the wrong way or maybe I just have no soul.

  41. Jazmeister says:

    The annoying thing about Raitendo’s games is that, okay, there’s a funny joke when you fail, but theres’s SECRET JOY if you beat it, and you can’t just try again. The last one, the Free Will one, you could just refresh the page.

  42. LionsPhil says:

    If there’s a secret good ending, it’ll probably be on YouTube.

    This is the correct solution to I Wanna Be The Guy, by the way. The only way to win is not to play.

  43. drewski says:

    Oddly, I recently attempted to play Nomad Soul. It didn’t like my modern laptop very much, so I’m going to give it a go on my older Win 2K machine some time.

    I want to see the good ending, even though the normal one is very funny.

  44. Smurfy says:

    This is quite good. I died and I’m not going to try to get around it.

  45. jonfitt says:

    I died the first time but was playing with sound off and no subtitles, so I had to eat my cookies (cookies are not deleted they are eaten) to play again with sound.
    Very clever. Although I’d like some way of viewing the “success” ending, as I’m no fan of fat plumbers and their ilk.

  46. FernandoDANTE says:

    “Shakey-Lo says:

    i liked the idea, poor choice of screenshot for the article though, kind of spoils it don’t you think?”

    Yes, totally. Quite lame.

  47. Jon says:

    You can find the success ending on youtube.

  48. Bahumat says:

    Yeah, the part I liked about this game was how five seconds into the game proper, it locked up my browser and crashed.

    And then when I tried to reload to play it, got the game over.

    Oh, no, wait, I didn’t like that at all. It was totally retarded. Great scoop of a game, RPS. :P

    Now back to Knightfall 2 for me.

  49. Bioptic says:

    If we’re talking about different endings, I fell on some spikes next to a purple creature. It was later dragged loudly protesting into a police car, insisting over and over that he didn’t kill me, that I’d just fallen over dead next to him! Excellent if it’s this context-sensitive.

  50. aoanla says:

    Yeah, whilst the core ‘joke’ is amusing, it’s also annoying that the point also prevents you from exploring the humour fully; it looks like there are multiple possible post-death sequences, and you have to “cheat” to see more than one of them.