Burn, Baby, Burn
Do you hate spiders? Not like dislike spiders, but loathe them with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns? Wish you could wipe them from the face of the Earth by any means necessary (and I do mean any means necessary)? Sure you do, that’s why you’re here, reading this review on Kill It With Fire, a game about squishing, shooting, stunning, slicing, setting alight, and blowing up spiders.
Developed by Casey Donnellan Games and published by tinyBuild, Kill It With Fire places players in a day in the life of a very determined spider exterminator who will stop at nothing to destroy every spider in sight. Available on Steam for $14.99 with an introductory price of $13.49 and a completion time of approximately six to seven hours, Kill It With Fire is bound to take your arachnophobia up several notches as you hunt down your eight-legged prey in homes, convenience stores, offices, and other locations. With weapons aplenty and all the time in the world, use your best judgement when it comes to taking these arachnids out while uncovering the mysterious secret behind their origin. How far will you go to destroy thine enemy?
As players progress through Kill It With Fire, they must fulfill objectives that are scattered throughout the level. Some are intuitive, like killing a set number of a breed of spider, while others are a little off-topic, like scanning $100 worth of items at the convenience store. There are also plenty of items to collect, such as ammo, upgrades, and batteries, which can be used to improve your skills or your spider tracker. There are even harder challenges featured in each level that unlock the final level’s challenge at the end, so mastery of the game is necessary to complete Kill It With Fire in its entirety.
Kill It With Fire features simple yet slightly counter-intuitive controls — using WASD to move and the mouse to control the camera, things begin in a pretty straightforward manner; however, “E” picks up and gently places items down, while left click throws them and right click manipulates them. On paper, this makes an awful lot of sense, but in practice, you end up accidentally putting down things instead of throwing them for the first half of the game (at least I did). That’s the only area with confusion, fortunately, as everything else is easy to get the hang of.
The level diversity is solid in Kill It With Fire, as each new environment expands your world juuuuuust enough to prove mastery while introducing new mechanics. There are some levels that are standouts, such as the kitchen level that treats players to jumping spiders (eek) and lets them go to town smashing dishes and throwing food out of the fridge. I found the levels easy to run through at first, skipping the tough challenges until I unlocked all possible weapons, then went back and showed those spiders who was boss. What’s great about that strategy is it builds mastery incrementally, a marked improvement from a player’s first visit to their second.
Speaking of weapons, Kill It With Fire is unsurprisingly full of murder fun time. Players can choose between several different types of guns, fire-slinging weapons such as hairspray, flamethrowers, or molotov cocktails, a frying pan, throwing stars, and more. There are also supplemental items that can aid you in your killing spree, such as balloons to lift items up or cheese puffs to bait spiders into a certain area. Protip: when completing the challenges, place the cheese puffs in a wide open area before initiating the challenge, then wait a few seconds, drink an energy drink, and use a flash bang to stun the spiders in place. After that, they’re easy pickings, the challenge pretty much in the bag. You’re welcome!
Now, I’m not really afraid of spiders — in real life, I tend to catch any wayward arachnids I find in my home and let them free outside — but in Kill It With Fire, I definitely got the creeps on my first playthrough. The music made my hair stand on end in some cases with the creepy crawly violin sounds, and coupled with the spiders that literally LEAP at you? Yeah, I flinched and cursed a few (dozen) times for sure. After awhile it’s easy to just ignore them while you wander around in search of collectibles you’ve missed, but the first few times are definitely going to get you.
While on the topic of aesthetics, it’s worth mentioning how clear the art design is in Kill It With Fire. Spiders are small and houses, buildings, and other populated facilities tend to be chock full of items, so you’d think it’d be easy to miss spiders completely. It’s hard enough in real life to keep an eye on them when they’re darting around in the home, so it was incredibly important that the developers created environments that didn’t essentially hide the spiders from players. I’m happy to report that the spiders are indeed easy to spot and, after a ton of practice, are easy enough to take down. Kinda.
Let me explain — the spiders move fast, and depending on the breed and circumstance, move differently and have different health options. Shooting and missing a spider will cause it to move at double speed, and some spiders need to be hit three times before keeling over instead of one. And then there are *invisible* spiders, which, you know, fuck that shit. So although the spiders are easy to spot, they’re hard to kill with guns and throwing stars; in all honesty, I used the first “weapon” given to you — the clipboard — pretty much from start to finish, supplemented with anything that, you guessed it, shoots flames. For now, I’m chalking it up to me not being great with FPS games, but it remains to be seen if others struggle with that weapon type like I did.
Despite all the positives Kill It With Fire offers, such as cathartic gameplay and an entertaining (albeit loose) storyline, I must report that it was not the smoothest experience. Kill It With Fire constantly froze up in moments where I was trying to switch up weapons while running and gunning, and at one point in the very last level crashed and forcequit. Luckily, it was only the one time I experienced such an issue, but it was after spending about 15 minutes setting up for the finale, ready to pull the trigger that it occurred, which is such a tease. I am hoping that the developer is working on fixing these issues post-haste, as it was frustrating to see the game freeze up in moments of extended concentration.
Love spiders or hate them, Kill It With Fire is bound to please even the most terrified arachnophobe. With a literal arsenal at your disposal and a clear objective, Kill It With Fire is a cathartic experience that is perfect for streaming or just unwinding after a long day. Whether you be a casual player or hardcore perfectionist, this game has something for everyone, building upon concepts taught in levels prior until complete mastery of the extermination arts. Kill It With Fire would be a fantastic addition to anyone’s library, sure to please even the pickiest of gamers. Happy hunting!
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PC (reviewed); Publisher: tinyBuild; Developer: Casey Donnellan Games LLC; Players: 1; Released: August 13, 2020; MSRP: $14.99
Editor’s note: This review is based on a copy of Kill It With Fire given to HeyPoorPlayer by the publisher.