12th Jul2018

‘Kill the Bad Guy’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

kill-bad-guy-lscreen

Kill the Bad Guy is an odd one, originally released on Steam in 2014, it appears to be one of the many thousands of games that got lost in the shuffle. Now re-released on the Nintendo Switch, I’m not sure if it will find its audience here either, as this feels a lot like a game that should be played on mobile devices and even then, does it really stand out from the crowd?

Played from an isometric perspective, Kill the Bad Guy puts you in the role of a hitman who has to kill ‘bad people’. The game world is heavily stylized and the items that are interactive tend to be black or dark grey, whereas your target will always look identical and most of the buildings and extra scenery will be white or lighter colours. I was quite intrigued when I received this as the premise seemed simple and interesting; each level gives you a small section of a city to work with in your mission to murder the target whilst attracting as little attention as possible, remaining unseen in your actions.

What starts off as a simple tutorial soon leads to more complicated fare. You can’t always just run your target over by hot-wiring a car and ramming him or by felling a tree /piano onto him from a height. Sometimes you need to avoid security cameras, police cars or perhaps set up small road blocks to direct your target into a certain position so that he can meet his very timely demise. The problem that I had throughout my play time was that I found the game to be slightly misjudged and unwieldy enough to impact my interest in what was happening on-screen.

My feelings on some sections of the game being misjudged mainly stem from the seemingly haphazard approach to some design choices, a strong rap track features on the main titles whereas other sections of the game give way to crunching metal guitar riffs whilst the main game plays as strangely minimalist and ambient (which suited the game best as it matched the stripped-back visuals). The humour and approach to the game also feels a bit ‘off’ in that everything plays out in a really light-hearted fashion; Comedy screams, dropping pianos in a Looney Toons kind of way and the tongue-in-cheek game play mechanics such as leaving an ‘erotic’ magazine somewhere in order to attract your target seem incongruous when placed next to, say the setup sequence to a level where you are introduced to a file on your target and it describes their heinous, often horrific crimes bereft of humour, it seems an odd mix of approaches.

Aside from this, the main issue I had was the controls and general blandness of the game. You don’t have full control of the camera and the screen is locked at the same viewing angle (although you can zoom in and out) which feels restrictive and the button layout feels unnatural in some cases, meaning that playing always feels a bit cumbersome (clicking on a car with the A button, but then having to flick the right thumb-stick to sabotage it when most other buttons remain unused). Although the game does move on quite quickly, with each scenario (there are sixty in all) adding new obstacles and challenges, I reiterate my point in this feeling like a mobile game, there was a weird lack of satisfaction in seeing everything play out. I kept on wishing that the game was played in third-person and that I was more involved in setting up the traps, darting round and staying out of view as opposed to just invisibly directing the action from above.

Kill the Bad Guy ended up feeling quite underwhelming although it does have a simple, unique premise. It never grabbed me enough to make me want to keep playing through the levels. I can imagine it may appeal to people who like the idea of planning a hit and watching a plan come together, but it feels too lightweight to be game that will really draw people in for its duration. Not a game I will be coming back to any time soon.

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