Game Review: Kill It With Fire

Pop quiz hotshot, there’s a spider in your bath. Do you:

  • a) Do the glass and a piece of paper trick to trap and then release the little blighter?
  • b) Turn the taps on and try to drown the eight-legged monster?
  • c) Be one of those insane people who pick the arachnid up in their hands and gently place it in the back garden.
  • d) KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!

From developer Casey Donnellan Games and publisher, TinyBuild Games comes a new first-person shooter/action game, that correctly chose to answer d) to my little question. Kill It With Fire does exactly what you think it does just from reading the title. Or, as described on the official website:

The common spider – mankind’s most ancient and deadly nemesis. As a licensed Kill It With Fire exterminator, it’s your duty to fight back! Gather your arsenal and hunt the eight-legged menace on a journey across suburbia…and beyond!

To defeat spiders you must exploit their one weakness: FIRE. Or bullets. Or explosions, throwing stars, gettin’ smushed by stuff… OK, pretty much anything, really. But that doesn’t mean it’s gonna be easy – first you’ve gotta find them. Utilize state-of-the-art spider tracking technology to pinpoint your prey’s location among hundreds of potential hiding spots – then light everything on fire and smash it with a frying pan after it runs out. It’s the only way to be sure.

The game really is as madcap as it sounds. You play as an exterminator working for the Kill It With Fire company and you have to kill spiders…. that’s about it. Your job is to kill those arachnids, but not (as the title suggests) just with fire, with anything that works. The premise deceptively simple, just kill spiders, but there is a little bit more going on that adds quite a few layers to the basics of the gameplay. The game takes place in a small town, and each of the levels is a locale in that town. You start in a house with very little else to really see and explore. There’s the main living area and several locked doors, to unlock those doors, you need to kill a certain amount of spiders. So let’s say as an example, there’s a number five on the door to the bathroom, then you need to kill five spiders to unlock that door. Other doors require more dead spiders to unlock, kill enough spiders and you can unlock the main door to progress to the next level.

KILL IT WITH FIRE TOILET

Killing all those eight-legged monsters is as easy as it is hard. Sometimes, you’ll just see one of them walking across the floor, so you squish it. However, other times and the spiders will be hiding, you can hear them moving, you know there’s a spider nearby… but you don’t know where it is. This is where the interactivity of each level comes into play, as you can pick up pretty much anything you see and examine it. See a bookshelf and think there could be a spider there somewhere? Pick up the books, turn them around and just maybe… there might be an arachnid hiding around the back… KILL IT! The little bastards hide any and everywhere too, under toilet seats, in bins, behind TVs and more. This adds a layer to the game that requires you to be pretty thorough as you explore each level. What I thought was going to be a fast-paced action romp of a game is actually more of a slower-paced, leisurely explore and investigate type of game. But it is how you do choose to kill those spiders where the over the top gameplay begins to come into play.

KILL IT WITH FIRE CLIPBOARD

You start with nothing, only to find a clipboard on the first level. This clipboard is actually very handy as not only does it list your level objectives (more on those later), it can even be used as a weapon to squish spiders. After a while, you’ll begin to find ever increasingly more powerful and fun weapons to use. Soon enough, you’ll get your hands on an aerosol can and a lighter that you can use as a makeshift flamethrower (it’ll do until you get an actual flamethrower later), a handgun, an assault rifle, C4 explosives, Molotov cocktails and so many more means to dispatch all of those spiders. There’s also a very helpful spider detector that you can use to help in the search of the ever hiding arachnids. There’s even an upgrade system where you can learn new skills and beef up that spider detector too… you can put a freaking laser on it!

Oh and about those previously mentioned level objectives. Aside from the killing of spiders, each level has a selection of alternate and completely optional little objectives to complete. Those objectives range from things like killing multiple spiders with one shotgun blast and solving various puzzles to finding secret rooms and even blowing up a gas station. And if you do complete all of the objectives on a level, this unlocks the ability to take part in an ‘Arachno-Gauntlet’ type challenge, and each level has its own unique challenge to try and beat. As an example, the first level has you having to kill five spiders with a six-shooter pistol in a strict time limit… oh and you can’t reload the gun either. So you can only miss once.

As simple as Kill It With Fire is (and it really is), the levels are wonderfully varied and there’s plenty to do along the way. But there are some negatives. It is a rather short game, I got to the end credits in around three hours or so. Granted, I didn’t finish all of the secondary objectives, find all of the upgrades and weapons, but still, three hours is a fairly short game. The spiders can’t harm you at all, you are essentially invincible from the only enemy in the game. There are various types of spiders, little white baby spiders, your standard black house spider, queen spider who when killed births several baby spiders, jumping spiders, zombie spiders, radioactive spiders and even exploding spiders…. but none of them can hurt you. So, there’s very little challenge from the game in terms of trying to stay alive if you can’t actually die. You’ll instinctively back away from an exploding spider even though it can’t harm you.

KILL IT WITH FIRE SHOTGUN

Still, I have to admit that even though I did get through the game in around three hours, I’m really aching to get back into it and mop up all the little things I missed. I really want to go back and do the optional objectives I skipped over, I want to unlock all of the upgrades and weapons I have yet to do. The gameplay here is simple, but it has also drawn me in via its addictiveness. It may be a small-ish game, but there is still a lot here to keep you entertained, there are several secrets yet to find even though I have seen the ending.

Already released on Steam several months back now. Kill It With Fire sees a launch on the 4th of March for PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. And there’s currently a 20% off offer if you pre-order before release. With a £12.49 price tag (£9.99 with the discount), I think the budget price suits what the game offers very well indeed. Arachnid murder has never been so much fun.

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