It is said that only two things are certain: Death and Taxes. In Soul Tax, a new possession puzzle platformer from Jarod Long, the story centers on these two facts of... death. See, you're a ghost who's been haunting this extremely complex office complex, and one day the grim reaper shows up and lets you know that you owe tax on all the time you spent being an ethereal spirit. And how are you going to pay these taxes? Easy. Defenestration and pixellated murder.
You control your ghost with [ESDF] or [WASD] (you can change this on the title screen with [C]), possess or leave victims with the [spacebar], and make your victims punch, kick, and use their special abilities with [J], [K], and [L], respectively. Using these bystanders, you have to help Death reach his required soul count by, well, killing people. It's all in the name of cosmic balance. And it's just a little fun. Each victim/target has a special ability that you can exploit to make sure you hit your death quota by the end of the time limit, and this lends strategy to the arcadey play, forcing you to make hard decisions about who dies and when. Some levels can be conquered through simply raging out and punching your way through, but, by and large, you're going to need to exercise your brain muscle to really do this thing right.
That, and Soul Tax is hilarious. Do not skip the dialogue! Just don't. It's well-written and funny, and there's even a darkly comic character arc that's almost harrowing. It seems very much like something that would be at home with Adult Swim. The graphics are pixelly and tight, and the controls are intuitive, though a little loose. It might also frustrate some that [ESDF] is the default, since [WASD] is the standard. It's never too difficult, and you might wonder why the bystanders aren't fighting back or running from murderous possessed madmen, but it stays interesting the whole way through. The puzzle elements are a huge draw, and the game makes good use of the various special abilities for interesting levels. There's definitely room for even more, and I'd love to see a sequel with more abilities and hazards. This is a fun, funny, and original game that works a good balance between puzzle, platformer, and arcade action. Grim and bloody but so much fun, Soul Tax is the most entertaining death and taxes will ever be.