Released by Exkee in late January 2017 after seeing huge success on Steam; Kill the Bad Guy couldn’t have a simpler premise. Maybe you can guess what that is: Kill. The. Bad Guy.
“But wait, aren’t good and bad just subjective points of view? Each borne out of a conflict of agendas and determined by whomever is telling the story? Two sides of the same coin?”
Nope. Not these bad guys. These are the absolute worst of the worst; mafiosos, war criminals, murderers, embezzlers and crooks. The list goes on and into refreshingly vivid detail. They think they’re safe; they think they’re incognito. In fact, they aren’t doing a great job of hiding themselves at all, you could say there’s a target on their heads. So now, it’s up to you to take them all out!
As part of a secret and mysterious, almost god-like society; you are sworn to do away with these evil buggers. However, you must do so with discretion. Every carefully orchestrated act of justice must look like an accident, this is where things gets very interesting and challenging. Luckily this can take a variety of satisfying forms; from a hijacked car smooshing that bad guy into paste, or a precariously balanced piano falling from the sky, even to the carcass of a dog flung from a tree like a flea-ridden trebuchet.
On the surface of it, this game is misleadingly simplistic. Graphical quality is nothing particularly incredible and the art style is minimalist, the real focus of this game is to test your mind. Before each encounter, the player is provided with a brief of this bad guy’s crimes; some of the better writing I’ve seen in an indie game. From there it’s up to you, to do what you will with the tools made available to you within that small stretch of black and white map.
Functionally speaking this game is pretty intuitive; after a few tutorial levels, you get a quick feel for it. That being said, this game doesn’t tell all. A big part of its replay value lies in what it leaves for you to discover on your own. Each level becomes increasingly more difficult and taxing as it tests your mental acuity with a number of different ways to set your traps. Where this game really engages the player is in its use of physics based puzzles and a limited window within which to work out how this bad guy has to die.
It isn’t just about pressing a few buttons as quickly as possible, this game requires careful planning and the correct sense of timing. Set off a trap too soon? You might just tip off the bad guy and send him back into hiding. You have to calculate just how long it’ll take to launch that car over that building, in time for it to find its mark. Or how to let that wrecking ball swing. What I found when starting out is that some of the levels take a few test-runs before you’re ready for the real thing, and you’ll be using that retry button before long, especially when asked to kill the bad guy on Day 1. Usually that’s easier said than done.
Unless you’re the meticulous sort, you’ll find this game has good replay value. Simply out of the objectives list that comes with each mission; not just to kill the bad guy, but some more cryptic secondary objectives as well. This is unique to the location or circumstance by which you kill that bad guy, but also includes the collection of a tooth and hidden passport for bonus points and to get that coveted Gold Star! Like I said, the more methodical players out there might achieve this on their first run, but otherwise it’s worth the replay. If nothing else, you’ll want to explore just how many ways there are to kill the bad guy, as it’s rarely so simple as you might initially think.
To its credit, this game never becomes boring or monotonous, each puzzle has a different approach that requires precise and lateral thinking and each scales in difficulty as you go. You’ll find yourself combining previously seen materials and techniques to create entirely new and innovative ways of killing the bad guy and it’s immensely rewarding when you see that reddish splat on the otherwise white ground. It’s well worth the stress on your mental capacity, especially when paired with the game’s mash up of continuous and original rap and RnB songs.
So, the verdict? If you’re the type of person that likes to carefully orchestrate a horrific way for someone to die and then vicariously let it play out before you (a.k.a everyone that plays video games), then you’ll dig this indie title. If you’re a fan of deceptive puzzle games like Echochrome, you’ll dig this even more. It’s one of the smarter games out there and it really tests your patience as much as your intelligence. Although there’s some back and forth involved in getting every kill just perfect, that is all a part of the puzzle this game places before you. Just a very fun and eccentric means of training your brain whilst also sating your blood lust in one neat package.
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