The narrow focus of Near Death is appealing. Its designers succeed in presenting a refreshingly simple game about a straightforward struggle to live. They simply pit you against the cold, and they have erected an arduous and interesting interactive obstacle course you must overcome to survive.
Near Death succeeds in eliciting a sigh of relief at finding a moment to breathe in a place hostile to comfort, and, thankfully, the game’s smart pacing means it does not overstay its welcome. Such tension, after all, is no more sustainable than the station at the game’s center. Ultimately, though, Near Death has nothing to say beyond the struggle to navigate the harshest environment on Earth.
Although [Near Death] technically isn't a horror game, it hits many of the same emotional beats… It's a Hitchcockian sort of horror derived from tension
Near Death consistently hits the highs of the best survivalist fiction, so engrossing as to cause me to turn up the heat in my own home out of fear. But it is a story we have heard before. There is little to take away from Near Death that has not been played out in other works, and it made me long for the stories of survival that position life as not an individual pursuit but a collective triumph.