24 Killers

released on Mar 09, 2023

Out in the Indian Ocean somewhere is a tiny desert island where a multiverse spanning drama is unfolding. You play as Home, a cursed super intelligence bound to a soldier's corpse by an alien named Moon.

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This is a wonderful little game, very in line with early Love-De-Lic games (particularly Moon RPG Remix Adventure), and with just as much heart as that game too (but less needless frustration). It’s an adventure-style game at heart, but based around a day system where you can only do so much each day, and some things reset each day, while some things only progress day to day. It’s small and handmade-feeling, with wonderful cute, bizarre, and well written characters. I almost feel like this game loves me, and I love it too.

"Turn out the lights. The party's over. All good things must come to an end."
A charming Love-de-Lic-like, 24 Killers places the player in a strange but somehow nostalgic island full of mystery. For the uninitiated, it follows a Zelda type problem solving gameplay loop where tools provided to the player earnt through character interactions lead to new areas or secrets and ease of progression. It makes for a relaxing and refreshing introduction to the unique subgenre refined by Love-de-Lic.
24 Killers really shines in its dialogue shared with a variety of creatures and critters who you'll meet and assist while exploring. Our protagonist named Home starts out abrasive to the idea of helping others, but their colours changing over the course of the game accompanied to an earnest acoustic score was lovely to see.
Rolled credits on my first universe and am marking completion, though I do intend to keep playing. My minor nitpicks regarding the repetitiveness of the toast cutscene and finding farming whispers in early game a bit difficult aside, this game warmed me in a time when I needed it most.

A wonderful, relaxing adventure game with clear roots in Moon Remix RPG. 24 Killers is much shorter and more straightforward, making it a good introductory game for this odd little subgenre.


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24 Killers is a game that grabs you with its title immediately. something i remember dwelling on the moment i had joined the game's discord late 2020. i was enthusiastic to see something like it, due to my own love and adoration for love-de-lic and Moon. the initial teaser of the world let me know that it wasn't a matter of if but when i'd visit it. and 2023.
the weight of Moon as inspiration, as not only work but thematic to be iterated upon, i think could be tremendous. it's a dark game about care, about care that you as the player invest into the game -- and in the end it challenges that very care you cultivated and rebounds it back towards you cruelly: are you giving the world outside these artificial & linear ends the same amount of love?
and that's a lot of weight, for 1997, back when games were a burgeoning medium. it's a game that says these binary constructions can only contain so much -- but your love is infinite. these digital delights have predetermined ends. and that's a thing that no other game has really tried to formalize. Moon exists in a medium where these metatextual moments are often of form but hollow. games don't tend to say things. nier can delete your save. horror games can make you think there is a virus in your pc. even narrative games with multiple endings don't reflect your intent -- endings are content to be seen regardless of canonicity. nothing really is a mirror back at you saying, "... and?"
i won't talk too much about the mechanics of 24 Killers -- it's a rich unfolding of a world a la key and lock and the more you unlock the more locks will be revealed for you, and so on. the narrative core is that you are an echo in this world's narrative: an isolated spirit from the void where there is nothing at all let alone love. your awakening into the world is a violent one -- you're angry clay, mad at moon for sculpting you into the silhouette of man.
moon asks you to cure yourself of a "curse" by helping the residents of the island while moon, in her celestial role, prepares to birth a new universe, as is customary, as is implied is the way of things. moon is at times suspicious and dogmatic but always caring and eventually you realize this space is the continuity and there's no twist or curve upcoming. the 24 killers were soldiers and others on the island who were mutated and in their loneliness alike you as an echo find yourself within them and their friendship materializes you. to be a curse is to be away from others and the bonds that connect people. the bonds therefore break the curse. not really a curse then... but the desire for home that everyone has innately. to be at home. to be loved.
and the husbandman emphasizes this to you, too, if you haven't realized it yet. you see, 24 Killers iterates on moon by saying that things matter even if they are a story. come, let's retell this story once more, and again, ten times and so on. let us make friends once more with these killers. because the care that we invest into these spaces is a reflection back onto us no matter what. and that even if these are stories hardcoded to chips and so on, so what? they make you smile, don't they?

HEY do you like MOON?! do you like CHULIP or CHIBI-ROBO?! Do you like QUIRKY and WEIRD and HEARTFELT?! Play 24 Killers!
It's super easy to look at 24K and just call it "indie 2023 Moon Rpg" and write it off. However, I think this game uses this very obvious love-de-lic inspiration and creates something new that can stand on it's own legs.
Everything in 24 Killers feels dreamlike. From the music, to the art, the dialogue, and even the dream-logic of the world and puzzles. But 24k never feels "lul random xD" because the game has a very stable internal logic.
The very opening moments of the game are bizarre but setup consistent world-building and character moments. We learn about Johnny Puzzle (the puzzle and contraption-loving dog), Mole (a giant friendly mole), Moon (some sort of extraterrestrial being calling the shots), and finally the player character Home.
Home is an echo. You don't really know what an echo is at the start, but you know it's a hand with an eyeball on it and a little wiggly tail. And you dive right into the corpse of a soldier. Home doesn't like this and wants to get away from all these annoying monsters ("mons" in the game's lingo) and starts to fight off all of them before Moon knocks them out.
Usually in love-de-lic games and other "cozy" games like this, the player character is nice, but Home is kind of a jerk! And that's what makes this game so nice to play. Seeing how Home reacts to the shenanigans, seeing how they grow and learn. Helping uncover this mystery. Diving into the bizarre dream-logic world and trying to genuinely help these people. When the sentient spider-mocha pot tells you that it's depressed and lost in life because the coffee plant outside is dried up and dead, it's not a random joke but a problem that you want to solve.
24 Killers isn't a very long game. That's a plus for me, I'm an adult with little time. I completed the game in about 8 hours and there is some.... very interesting replay incentives, but I can see that being a turn-off for some folks.
I adore this game and I want more like it. Games like this inspire me. To be more creative, to be more honest, to be more genuine, to be more weird, to love myself and others more. It's a beautiful game.