I’ll be honest, spiders don’t bother me at all. Yet, as someone surrounded by people with severe arachnophobia, I would be a millionaire if I had a pound for every time someone said to me “ahhhhhh a spider, kill it, kill it with fire!”. However, since that is both impractical and not too good for the environment, developer Casey Donnellan Games gives us the virtual opportunity to actually kill it with fire… and many other ways.
The concept of the game couldn’t be simpler, find the spiders inhabiting specific spaces and kill them with whatever you can find in the environment. This can be anything from flamethrowers (lighter and aerosol), shotguns, TVs, to the classic newspaper. This is made easier with a scanner that helps you zone in on where the spiders are. Yet, don’t think for a second that you’re going to be safe from a distance, instead, you have to pick up individual objects and rotate them to find the sneaky spiders hiding underneath them. It will definitely give the jeebies to the more spider-wary amongst you.
Despite its simplicity, I found it quite relaxing in a slightly morbid way. This isn’t a game you’ll play for hours at a time, due to the rather basic gameplay, as I found it to be more fun when played in short sessions over a period of time. Let’s take a closer look…
The art style of Kill It With Fire is very cartoonish, almost like you’ve stepped into the world of Family Guy. It makes everything feel just as silly as it sounds and suits the concept perfectly. Despite the bright and simplified colourful visuals though, the wearier amongst you will still squeal and scream at the jumping spiders. These sneaky buggers are red and huge, hiding on the back of objects – as soon as you pick up or knock their hiding place, they jump straight at you within your first-person perspective!
It doesn’t matter if they’re spiders or butterflies, something jumping at the camera like this will give you a momentary jump scare.
As you find and kill spiders, you will be able to unlock doors within each location that you search. These open up the chance to kill more spiders, discover more secrets for challenges and find more weapons to use to kill them. If you quit a level, the doors you’ve opened will remain unlocked but all spiders will respawn. This adds a bit of replayability to the game since it’s best to unlock all the doors and weapons before returning to complete the challenges once you’re fully armed…
Speaking of challenges, each mission has a series of tasks for you to complete as well as an “Arachno-Gauntlet”. The challenges usually involve killing spiders in specific ways using certain objects – some are easy yet others are much trickier. None of them was impossible, or ‘too hard’, but certain criteria such as getting two kills with one shotgun blast was a little fiddly – thankfully, you can lure the pesky spiders and group them together using food for bait!
Trying to complete the Arachno-Gauntlets was the hardest part of the game, with each requiring you to carefully plan out your approach first in order to efficiently complete the task at hand, these are best taking on once you’ve unlocked all the doors and powerful upgrades.
To make the challenges easier, as you progress you will be able to earn points to spend on upgrades. Perhaps the most important of these at first is the upgraded scanner. The original scanner points in a direction and plays ‘hot or cold’ with you, yet the upgraded one pinpoints the exact location. The time this will save on levels is immeasurable, if you try to complete the levels without it then you’ll sometimes find yourself searching for anything up to an hour.
Due to checking every nook and cranny for the spiders, the place will quickly become a mess, providing lots of hiding spaces to check – as there are so many objects to interact with and throw around, it all becomes a bit frustrating to rummage through if I’m being honest. Not to mention, once you finally find a spider, they then have a habit of running off in random directions and hiding underneath different objects, which means you have to move more stuff to get to them thus creating more mess!
I get it, if they stood there waiting to be killed then it wouldn’t be as fun, but when you’re encouraged to move everything whilst a single spider pushes a 40” tv on the floor and blocks your line of sight, it’s a bit ridiculous.
Kill It With Fire is a simple concept by design, but that doesn’t make it bad. In fact, when you have 30 minutes spare it’s a perfect time killer. It really is as simple as it sounds, offering sadistic fun as you take out revenge on all those creepy crawlies you’ve screamed at over the years. The joy is in getting the upgrades and finding the different weapons you can use, then going back through the levels and getting those damn red jumping spiders back. If you’re after a pretty easy 100% and have some hatred towards spiders, this is unmissable. Otherwise, I’m not sure there’s enough here to make it a game that needs to be played.