When I first discovered Dojo of Death, I played it once and deemed it a nice distraction but ultimately not worth writing about. But then I made a mistake: I left its tab open in my browser. The arcade-y slasher, incredibly simplistic though it might be, provides just the right amount of deliciously squishy slicing and dicing in small doses. So I’d do some work, finish a task, and then click over to that browser tab. There it was waiting for me, each of its mechanics tuned to make my id giggle with glee. Dashing forward cutting down multiple enemies in the blink of an eye, charging so hard that arrows flying right at me split in two on impact. There is very, very little to Dojo of Death, but that is enough.
The whole game takes place in one room. Two enemy types spawn, and you kill them by clicking to dash in their general direction. Others might poof right into your path, but they’ll only be cut down. Everybody will be cut down. Even you, eventually.
Unless you’re really, really, really good, games end up lasting only a minute or two. But the core feel of the game is so good that I can’t stop going back to it. Slish, spluck, splat. It’s nothing tremendously innovative, but the basics leave my brain afloat in a soup of adrenaline-spiced dopamine.
There is, however, one element that’s subtly brilliant and also kind of hilarious. Difficulty increases over time not because enemies get smarter or start pulling out new tricks, but because you amass so many corpses that it’s hard to tell who’s meeting their maker and who’s just milliseconds from introducing you to yours. Evil ninjas are camouflaged by their own dead. How’s that for a battle strategy?
I’d actually really like to see these basic mechanics adapted into some kind of faster-paced Binding-of-Isaac roguelike thing, but for now Dojo of Death is the perfect game to have open in your browser for, like, three days. Play a couple rounds, do some work, play a couple rounds, do some work, etc. You know, unless your office place frowns upon gallons of gore and mountains of ninja corpses. I can’t really help you there.
You can give it a try for free here.