If you’re anything like me, your instant reaction to seeing a hairy, eight-legged animal is to stay well away while heading for the glass cupboard with a few screams or expletives scattered around. What if, instead of hurling threats at the spiders, you could use a flamethrower? Well, good news everyone; in Casey Donnellan Games’ Kill It With Fire you can do just that, along with a bucket load of other spider slaying methods. When I was sent a game key, I couldn’t wait to get started.
As you can see, this meeting is going very well
As a licensed spider exterminator, in each level you are equipped with a checklist of objectives that you must complete. Some are easy to complete as you go around splatting the spiders while others take a little bit more thought. To unlock the door to the next room you must reach a certain number of spider kills. Naturally, the spiders don’t make it easy for you though, hiding behind cushions, picture frames, inside drawers, and under rocks. It’s down to you to find them. Most objects in the environment are movable (and more enjoyably, throwable) and, unless you don’t want to burn the room down, this is how you’ll find the spiders.
The levels progress immediately after each other over the course of a couple of days. You can also see the next level’s buildings from the one before, which I think helps the story’s narrative flow. There is no open world in this game – as much as I’d love to have seen random events involving infestations in a civilian’s home, it wouldn’t fit in with the post-apocalyptic spider-infested world, so I think this works as is. I can only hope this is thought about in a future DLC.
I don’t think our boss would take too kindly to this form of spider disposal…
Levels are replayable with any upgrades you acquire later in the game as a sort of ‘New Game+’ mode. This comes in handy for the more difficult objectives. After completing all challenges in a level, there is an extra, timed mini-game that you can attempt. These mini-games task you with killing a certain number of spiders with a specific requirement.
The upgrades must be found in a level before you can purchase them in the shop, which is a great way of ensuring the player leaves no stone unturned. The upgrades themselves apply to both you and the spider radar you pick up in the first level. Ranging from giving you more weapon slots, to a remaining spider counter, these can definitely help when going back to the earlier levels.
While at first you are introduced to the kind of spider you’d find at home, many more different breeds are introduced throughout the game. Some of them are smaller, some are camouflaged, some jump at you when provoked, and some even explode. The atmosphere posed by the different kinds of spider is also spot on; you seldom turn rocks over or open drawers without a clenched face waiting for the impending jump scare.
Objects in the environment can be rotated and thrown to remove any spiders.
Graphics and Sound
The cartoon style graphics of Kill It With Fire work well with the goofy nature of the game. After a level or two, the jump scare aspect starts to disappear and you’re no longer clenching every muscle in your body when moving a box or opening a door (any realistic factor in the graphics and it’ll qualify as a full on horror game!) The graphics style of the game also means it is not demanding on any PC hardware, which is always a good thing. I carried out this review using an RTX 2070 Super GPU and Intel i7-9700K at 60fps and suffered no screen tears and very minor technical difficulties. Upon a stress test performed for this review, firing multiple RPG bullets in the end-game final “rain down hell on the spiders” objective caused some frame stutters which were not experienced previously.
The only way I can think of describing the music is a sort of upbeat version of a mystery game. It fits very well with the nature of the game and the levels, especially the whole ‘move-objects-to-find-spiders/mystery objects’ aspect.
Hot deals down at the local supermarket! No? I’ll get my hat…
For the first time in a while, I found myself genuinely laughing at the goofy aspects and weapons of the game, which is definitely a good thing. I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game and while I don’t normally revisit this kind of ‘strictly single-player’ game after 100% completion, I can see myself taking some stress out on some eight-legged fiends in the future. Could the game be better with a multiplayer mode where you race friends to eliminate the most spiders? I certainly think it could be something the developers look into in the future, but for now, I’m very happy with this finished product.
On my 100% playthrough, I found myself needing a guide to some of the challenges and end-level ‘Arachno-Gauntlet’ mini-games. Believe it or not, killing 10 spiders using 10 different methods is a lot harder than it sounds! I had hoped for a longer game – it took about 4 hours to hit 100%, however I feel the ending definitely made up for it. While editing this review, Casey Donnellan commented on Twitter (@CaseyDonnellan) about a speed-runner’s ‘Any%’ time of 12 mins and 53 seconds saying he “couldn’t wait” to add his time.
The vast number of methods for taking out a spider means there are many ways to Kill It With Fire.
What’s worse, pineapple or jumping spider?
If You Like the Look of this Game…
Kill It With Fire was released on 13th August 2020 and is available on Steam for $14.99/£11.39.
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- Overall - 9/109/10
- Relatable plot
- Enjoyable objectives in every level
- Vast array of weapons and tools
- Great ending fitting with the wacky plot
- Graphics style works well with the theme
- Some objectives/mini-games are very difficult without plenty of practice or strategy guides
- Rather short (100% review run in about 4 hours, speed-runners ‘Any%’ in <15 mins)
- Can experience slight performance issues depending on weapons used