Because you die in it. Get it? Anyway, onwards with the review.
This is an adventure game. I should specify that it's been written by Tim Schafer, and presumable one or two other people as well, as that is relevant information to those who know the guy. Those who don't know the guy, well, he's Tim Schafer, the genius responsable for Day of the Tentacle (can you tell I'm not particularily going to be biased? This is a reader review. Go look at what the guys who are paid to write reviews come up with if you're looking for fairness)
So, it's an adventure game. What does that mean? It means you start out with a character, usually with empty pockets, you run around the world, filling your pockets with objects, and then you empty those again in creative uses until the game is over.
"But what's so much fun about this?", I hear you ask (in a squeeky little voice). I'll tell you.
The fun thing is that you solve puzzles, which is right satisfying in that way that overcoming obstacles always is. And you do it while a fun story takes place. You get to be the hero, just by telling a guy what to do and being more clever than everybody else.
"So it's like Doctor Whatever's brain training, then?". No. Fuck off. Go away. It's nothing like that. These are REAL puzzles. You don't have a tutorial holding your hands. You can, and will, get stuck lots of times, and you'll have to actually figure out what to do (or go off and find it in a walkthrough, you little wanker).
On to the game, then.
In it, you play the role of the grim reaper. Well, a grim reaper. Your job is to sell travel packages to your clients, and you go on a journey across the land of the dead in search of redemption, love, a metal detector and a tiny little hammer. You basically get stuck in a confusing conspiracy, in the style of the best film noir movies, and you have no choice but to untangle it, or die.
The story is not all that brilliant, as in, there aren't any grand plot twists, but don't get me wrong. The story is in no way what this game is about. The places you'll visit are of such creativity and originality, and the characters you meet along the way are of such wonderful, well... character, that you'll not get bored for a second. Honestly, you won't find a more engaging story than this. It's like an X-Files episode. Plotwise, you know the damn aliens are behind everything - not very original - but it's the how, and the where, and the why, and the vistas the story takes you past that colour your experience. This game has EXCELLENT vistas, one after the other. It's ridiculously original and creative.
The puzzles are great. There are a few that can get on your nerves, but really, you won't run into any "use key on door" type puzzles here. Every one of them is original. And creative. Ridiculously so.
Sound. Brilliant. Just go listen to it. Why do I have to review it for you? It has atmosphere.
Humor. Well. This is the funniest game you'll ever play. It's pixar-level funny, but, whereas one of those movies will keep up that level of quality for two hours, this one keeps it going for the 20 something hours it takes you to get through this thing (this is an approximation. I don't really know how long it will take you - it depends on how smart you are).
In fact, I can probably review it just like that. It's polished to perfection, it stubbornly does it's own thing, does it better than anyone before it has, and pulls it off with enormous flair. And it's the funniest piece of entertainment I know of.
You will replay it. Many times. You might even end up reviewing it for some eurogamer website, just because you're so impressed and nobody else has reviewed it. It's something you either love or, well, love.
This is a game not even the hashest cynic could dislike, or find much to dislike about - other than that it's old. But you don't go blaming the pyramids for not having an escalator to the top built in, either, do you?
I realise this is not the most accomplished review on this website, but I thought it an outrage that this fine game has not been reviewed.
10 / 10