Welcome to This Is Not A Review. In these articles we discuss general impressions, ideas and thoughts on any given game, but as the title implies, it’s not a review. Instead, it’s an exercise in offering a quick recommendation (or dismissal) after spending enough time to grasp the ideas and gameplay of a thing without necessarily playing it from A to Z.
The subject of this installment: Kill It With Fire, developed by Casey Donnellan Games and published by tinyBuild.
We’re supposed to like spiders. We’re told all the time that they’re beneficial to the environment, they keep insect populations under control and they won’t generally hurt us. The problem is they’re really creepy.
They move in a weird way, and they’re just so fast. They have a nasty habit of abseiling in front of us while we use our computers. Sure, you could smash one with a rolled-up paper or vacuum it off the ceiling, but Kill It With Fire allows players to finally give those smug little monsters virtual comeuppance while creating glorious havoc.
KIWF starts small, making players wipe out a few arachnids in a series of tiny rooms in an average home. Within minutes, weaponry graduates from squashing them with a clipboard or hurling bits of furniture to creating improvised flamethrowers out of a lighter and aerosol can.
After destroying enough eight-legged demon spawn, you move to other parts of the house including the kitchen and garage, where the little bastards start getting clever.
As they become more adept at hiding, players are forced to counter with larger firearms (naturally). Sure, the bedroom is trashed and I might not be able to put out all of the fires in the bathroom, but those webbed freaks won’t be secreting themselves in the sock drawer anymore!
And yet, there’s no time for complacency. New species keep cropping up! Some of them jump. They JUMP! Right at my face! Burn it, burn it all down!
Did I mention that each one makes a squeaking noise as they scuttle past? A squeak from the very depths of Hell, I tell you!
As they get better and better at evading detection, you’re able to cobble together a hand scanner similar to the motion tracker from Aliens. With more upgrades, the scanner’s range increases and it gains increasingly complex sensors allowing me to find their nests and exterminate them.
Why do some of them explode into smaller spiders???? WHY???
Once the house is secure and may eventually be fit for human habitation, it’s time to move on to the local gas station. Are they in the frozen foods? Among the fuel tanks? By the time I’ve done, my shotgun has accomplished the work. A pity about the wreckage, though…
Kill It With Fire is horrifying and viscerally satisfying. There are absolutely no consequences for one’s actions, so you’re free to go as nuts as you want in any setting as long the my ammo holds out.
If players get tired of clobbering them, KIWF offers plenty of mini-objectives besides raw carnage. They can be mundane (put all the tools in the garage back on their pegboard) or bizarre (scan $100.00 worth of items EXACTLY at the convenience store). If that’s not enough, there are unlockable challenges in each stage such as killing a specific number of spiders with a given weapon, or timed slaughter-fests.
My only real complaints here are that early in the game, the player’s avatar moves too slowly, and spiders can be difficult to find. It’s fun to trash a room while flushing out elusive quarry, but it can sometimes be tedious prior to acquiring a few decent tracker upgrades.
Despite a slow start, I’ve been having a great time in Kill It With Fire, and I can’t wait to cause even more wanton destruction in the pursuit of spiders in future levels.