Kill It With Fire Impressions

Eek!!! It’s a spider! Kill it kill it kill it!

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve shrieked such things in horror upon being startled by the sudden and unprovoked appearance of an eight-legged monster. Of course my shouts are always laced with a choice obscenity or three, but I’ll keep things PG here. Arachnophobia is one of the more common fears out there so I know I’m not the only one who’s faced this terror too many times to count. Kill It With Fire is just the game to help work out these arachnophobic nightmares.

Kill It With Fire‘s full release is scheduled for August 13th, but in the meantime tinyBuild has made two demos available to putz around with as the summer heatwave rages on. Ignition came out back in April while Heatwave just dropped last Friday, adding to the first demo with a new level, for a total of three, and some extra tools of destruction to deploy against the arachnid plague.

Kill It With Fire is a mission-based spider hunting search and destroy action game. From a first person perspective, you roam through individual levels set in different areas of a house and open drawers, look under furnishings (don’t forget to see what might be hiding under the toilet seat!), and pick up household items to inspect until a spider is provoked into showing itself, at which point you must use any means necessary to send it straight to arthropod hell. Left clicking attacks while right clicking pulls up a tracking device that helps you locate spiders like a radar system. Happening upon a spider is always good for a flinch as they suddenly start crawling around in panic while the music and sound effects create a lighthearted sense of urgency and suspense.

The spiders in this game aren’t just the traditional creepy crawlies that you’re used to either. Sure, there are black spiders that behave normally, as well as smaller spiderlings that are less terrifying and the easiest to kill. But you’ll also have to face off against queen spiders that explode into a swarm of spiderlings upon death, as well as freaky jumping spiders, and even invisible spiders that are extra tricky to find.

In your suburban war against this arachnid horde, you can pick up and hurl objects to squish them, or better yet, unleash an arsenal of unlockable weapons. The demos showcase everything from a frying pan and throwing stars, to explosive charges and molotov cocktails, to a homemade hairspray flamethrower and an assortment of firearms such as a revolver, shotgun, and assault rifle. Overkill? Yes, absolutely. But that’s what makes the game so delightfully gratifying. Killing spiders is the primary goal, but being able to ransack a house like a bull in a china shop adds a joyful punch of physics-based destruction. Everything about the game is excessive, and that’s what makes it so fun.

Mission progression is handled in a neat way, too. Within each mission certain rooms, nightstands, closets, containers, and the final exit door are locked off until specified numbers of spiders are exterminated. Your main starter weapon, a simple clipboard, also displays a to-do list of objectives that challenge you to kill spiders in specific ways–for example throwing a book at one or killing two spiders with one shotgun blast–or complete different interactions within the environment, such as shattering all the picture frames found throughout a level, emptying the kitchen refrigerator of all contents, or finding all the tools hidden around the garage and putting them back in their proper places on a workbench pegboard.

The game in its demo form already shows signs of strong replay value. Once you complete a level, all the progress you made is maintained so that when you return you can focus on any remaining objectives without having to redo tasks or unlock rooms and doors all over again. You pick up where you left off, only those damn spiders have respawned. But that’s okay because that just means you get to squash ’em all over again.

Completing objectives also awards upgrade points, which can be used to unlock perks between missions, such as kerosene soaked bullets so that guns can ignite fires, cargo shorts that expand equipment hotkey slots, and gel insoles that allow you to sprint. Once all objectives are fulfilled in a given level, a unique Arachno-Gauntlet challenge becomes available. These are timed challenges in which spiders swarm in and you have to kill a certain number using a particular method before the timer runs out. The toughest one in the demos is having to kill five spiders using the revolver without reloading, which means you only have the leeway of a single miss.

As these are demos of an unfinished product, the game in its current state does suffer from some technical imperfections. The most pronounced is frequent framerate stutters and extended pauses where the game will seemingly lock up for a few seconds before kicking back into motion, usually when you first open a drawer or fire begins to propagate. I’ve also encountered things like objects getting caught on shelves and dead spiders getting stuck hovering in mid-air. Hopefully the developer can get these bugs squashed and optimize the performance for the final game, which is only a few more short weeks away.

If you’ve ever been terrified by a spider and wanted to go absolutely ballistic in pursuit of revenge, ditching the wad of tissue or rolled-up magazine of real-life restraint for a boomstick, machine gun, explosive device or other means of violent excess only a videogame could afford, Kill It With Fire is just the game you’ve been waiting for.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!