If you hate spiders and you want to get over your fear of them, and if you’re looking to improve your aim at the same time, then Kill It With Fire has everything you need in spades. That is, of course, if you can stand that incredibly effective creepy music.
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Steam has always been both the best and worst place to look for independent games. On one hand, you may stumble on rare gems that have maybe under 1,000 reviews that you’ll end up playing for days and weeks on end. On the other, you may find those weird asset-flips that are only there to try and ride on whatever bandwagon is currently in fashion.
Kill It With Fire falls under the former, and it’s also one of the games that prove to be a very interesting concept. It takes the ordinary, working person’s struggle against the vilest creature that may currently be living in your house as we speak: the common house spider.
Taking that concept, running it to the very extreme, and giving the player a form of stress relief are what make Kill It With Fire such a very interesting title. It’s a mostly one-man project from the mind of Casey Donnellan, an independent video game developer who has been working in the industry for nine years now. With a small group of other artists and developers, he created Kill It With Fire over the course of ten months, with the game’s free-to-play demo releasing last year.
That demo really took off on Steam, with a great many players and streamers finding the concept to be a fun, albeit terrifying experience, especially for people with arachnophobia. Kill It With Fire essentially tasks you to kill a number of spiders in each level, represented by innocuous places such as your house, the grocery, or even the gas station. Its main draw, however, is that you kill those spiders in incredibly destructive ways, often at the cost of furniture, appliances and the rest of your earthly possessions. In other words, a very fair trade.
There is a ton of variety and creativity spread throughout the game, and its art style is misleading at a first glance. Without proper context, you may think it’s a generic indie simulator where you can pick up stuff in the house and live your idyllic suburban lifestyle. However, once that incredibly atmospheric music kicks in (courtesy of one Trevor Whitaker Black) then you’ll know you’re actually in purgatory where house spiders lurk in every corner, and you will be able to tell they’re nearby with those skittish and disturbing noises that they make.
Kill spiders in incredibly destructive ways, often at the cost of your earthly possessions.
That said, do not fret, for you have quite the arsenal at your disposal to help get rid of the eight-legged menace. Almost anything that’s not nailed down to the level by the developer can be used to deal damage to the spiders, including lamps, books, pillows, picture frames, remote controls, vases, boxes, your flat-screen TV, your game consoles, and even the clipboard that gives you the quests for hunting down spiders. Of course, there will be times when the going gets tough, and for those, you have guns, makeshift flamethrowers and even RPGs to help get rid of the pesky pests.
Speaking of quests, there are a number of them at every level. It’s a fun way to challenge yourself and unlock the next one in order to progress, and often they consist of asking you to kill spiders in various creative ways. In your journey to rid yourself of the spider threat, it’s normal to see various parts of the level burning or in tatters, which is very representative of the lengths some people will go to in order to have peace of mind.
In a sense, Kill It With Fire can also be considered a meme-worthy aim trainer. The spiders are very agile, and catching them off guard is next to impossible unless you train that next remote control or picture frame throw properly. I’d like to think that my aim is pretty decent, but this game reminded me that I still need to work on it if I’m to make it to the spider-killing pro leagues.
It also works quite well to quell people’s fears about common house spiders by turning it into a humorous and entertaining affair. There are tons of quirks here in terms of the overall design, including many variations of spiders and various ways to kill them all. What’s even better is for people with severe arachnophobia, there are accessibility settings that turn the spiders into formless blobs. You can also choose to turn off that impeccably composed violin music, as I believe that two-thirds of the horror in this game comes from those and the jump scares.
Kill It With Fire essentially has two versions. The first is the paid one, which contains all the content that is still being updated to this very day, and the second is a free-to-play standalone demo called Kill It with Fire: Heatwave. Heatwave has the first two missions of the game, remixed with different quests and other details, and you can fully experience it for free as a taste-test of what’s to be expected for the actual game.
Kill It With Fire is definitely worth a check and a space in our Spotlight series. It’s an all-around feel-good game that can be very deceptive, but in the end, it’s very reminiscent of the lengths some people go to in order to achieve their goals. Whether you think that this is positive or negative is up for debate, but Kill It With Fire does leave you with Thanos vibes at the end of every level, surrounded by the destruction and debris that you caused all for the sake of four common house spiders.
“Did you do it?”
“What did it cost?”
You can check out Kill It With Fire on PC via Steam, and it’s also out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and iOS and Android mobile devices.