How terrifying would it be to find yourself locked in a building with a horde of spiders? The answer, if you’re playing Kill It With Fire, is “not very”.
The first couple of times you discover a spider slumbering behind a painting, you’ll thrust yourself away from your keyboard, cursing as the eight-legged menace drops to the floor and skitters across the room.
But as soon as you realise they can’t hurt you, they become nothing more than a mild inconvenience; Kill It With Fire‘s implied sense of menace never materialises.
“Thanks to Kill It With Fire‘s exaggerated physics engine, you can hurl more or less anything you can get your hands on”
Kill It With Fire is still fun though, particularly when you get your hands on some of its wilder weapons. Your task, as an ethically-questionable pest controller, is to purge eight or so levels of their arachnid inhabitants. You start off with a measly clipboard but graduate to frying pans, shotguns, improvised flame-throwers and more. Thanks to Kill It With Fire‘s exaggerated physics engine, you can hurl more or less anything you can get your hands on. You might not do much damage with a frond, but you can sure as hell try.
“Causing mayhem is the most rewarding aspect of the game”
Causing mayhem is the most rewarding aspect of the game, so much so that, for a time, the spiders become incidental. Initially, hunting down the spiders can be pretty tedious, especially since the stakes are so low. Even when you run into a spider than can resurrect other dead spiders, it’s not a huge deal. Get your hands on a can of gasoline, on the other hand, and you can take things up a notch.
Instead of looking behind newspaper stands or turning over keyboards, you’re pouring petrol over everything, then setting it alight and watching the office burn. A little later, you realise the convenience store has petrol pumps and a wicked grin spreads across your face. Soon you’re standing in the middle of the flames like an arachnophobic Terminator, listening to the spiders sizzle.
“Kill It With Fire‘s implied sense of menace never materialises”
Not all Kill It With Fire‘s weapons are so practical, but they’re fun to mess around with. The shotgun is an absurdly inaccurate piece of kit, but just flailing around, blasting holes in monitors is a real joy. Kill It With Fire does throw in a few puzzle-style challenges in an effort to keep things fresh, as well as giving you the chance to earn upgrades to boost your spider-splattering skills.
Creativity isn’t compulsory, but Kill It With Fire comes into its own when you revisit earlier levels, with your now unlocked weaponry. Suddenly, you’re slapping C4 on a bookcase and using cheesy wotsits to lure spiders into a pool of gasoline, twirling your moustache as they rush towards the kill zone.
“if you only play one spider-murder sandbox this year, play Kill It With Fire“
It still lacks tension, something that I suspect could be fixed by patching in a hardcore “damage” mode, and spider-hunting is, at its core, repetitive. But Kill It With Fire gives you the resources to turn a mundane activity into glorious, cartoony, house-torching mayhem. Best experienced in short bursts, if you only play one spider-murder sandbox this year, play Kill It With Fire.