February 25, 2024

Don’t Die, Minerva! is a rogue-lite from Xaviant. You play as Minerva, the titular protagonist who finds herself at the gates of a haunted castle. With nothing but your torch, mysterious stuffed toys and backpack at your side, you take on hoards of Ghouls, Ghosts, Bats and all other sorts of nasties.

First off, I would like to remark on how extremely polished Don’t Die Minerva is, the game plays and controls extremely smoothly. And it’s a good thing it does because you will need to be quick on your fingers if you don’t want to die.

The game features procedurally generated dungeons based on biomes. So even though the levels might share certain elements with each other, no two runs will be the same.

Don’t Die Minerva doubles up as a twin-stick shooter thanks to its almost bullet hell type gameplay. You will be shooting at your supernatural enemies with your torch. You can also carry a companion with you like the stuffed monkey, dragon, cat that can draw aggro and attack enemies within their range. Minerva can collect gems to enhance the abilities of her weapons and stuffed friends, adding elemental effects such as ice and arcing lightning.

Defeating enemies gives you currency, coins, and crystals that you can use to upgrade your abilities and buy items. You can also get better equipment by opening chests and breaking stuff.

Like all roguelikes, Don’t Die Minerva can be quite challenging. Dying is a central theme of the game, even though the game insists that you don’t.

Dying causes you to lose all your loot and currency, but thankfully you can upgrade your abilities and unlock new ones by teleporting using a fountain.
The game also features a difficulty system, so if you find yourself overwhelmed, you can drop things down a notch.


  • Minerva can attack ghosts with her flashlight and evade with a dash move
  • Minerva can deploy a Friendly stuffed animal to assist her in combat
  • Collect loot with procedural affixes – Flashlights, Friendlies, Boots, Backpacks, and Necklaces all come in many varieties
  • Four flashlight types – Basic, Flash Bulb Cannon, Heavy Flash Gun, Photon Tether
  • Four Friendly types – Monkey, Bear, Cat, Dragon
  • Equip Gem Mods in Flashlights and Friendlies to customize their elemental output and create synergies between weapons
  • Attribute-based stat system – Make strategic gear selection choices to bolster different aspects of your offense and defense, as well as your ability to apply elemental status effects on foes
  • Dungeons are constructed with procedural layouts and combat encounters – no two runs are the same
  • Collect magical Essence Crystals – these can be spent on permanent unlocks that will aid your progress
  • Collect coins to purchase new gear during your run
  • Four levels of difficulty – unlock Hard and Very Hard to take on new challenges
  • Dungeons span three distinct biomes – the mansion, the garden, and the crypts, each with unique rooms and hazards
  • 19 ghostly enemies, plus elite versions with affixes that make them even more formidable
  • Three challenging boss battles


  • New levels/biomes
  • More visual variety within existing levels
  • New Enemies
  • New Bosses
  • New weapons and Friendlies (the stuffed Animals that assist Minerva in combat)
  • New unlocks and abilities
  • Player stat tracking
  • More systems that focus on exploration
  • Additional difficulty levels


Don’t Die Minerva feels fun and fresh to play, despite the huge influx of roguelikes in recent days. It’s got tight controls, a unique visual style, and the gameplay is pretty good. It’s also got a lot of content for an early access title and I feel confident that the team at Xavian will be able to deliver on their promises.

Don’t Die, Minerva! is out in early access on Steam.