Everyone knows that the one constant in the world of gaming is that you have to avoid dying, right? Wrong.
Karoshi flips everything you knew to be true on its head, as you play an overworked Japanese office cubicle jockey hell bent on sending himself into sweet oblivion.
Each level is just a single screen, with cutely blocky 8-bit graphics, but the path to the big sleep is fraught with obstacles. Spikes, falling blocks, fire and electrocution are all on hand to speed Mr Karoshi to the other side, but most levels require a precise chain of events and often some deft running and jumping to make Karoshi kaput.
He's not alone, occasionally joined by his wife and his boss. One makes him happy; one makes him sad. This affects how high he can jump, and in the case of his wife, thwarts his suicidal attempts by turning spikes into flowers.
Story mode is the only option to start with, as you "assist" Karoshi through 50 levels, and when you rack up enough points Karoshi Ware mode opens up. This is a quick-fire, five-seconds-a-level mode in which you have to follow the onscreen instructions "Don't move!", "Survive!" or "Kill Yourself!". This continues, unrelenting, level after level until you get it wrong and it's game over (literally, if not figuratively, speaking).
Rarely have we been so gripped by such a simple game, and even though we've grown quite attached to Mr Karoshi, we still love helping him pop his clogs.
More after the break...
Breaks rule number one of gaming and does it beautifully