Kill the Bad Guy (PlayStation 4) Review

By Sam Turner 18.02.2017 1

Review for Kill the Bad Guy on PlayStation 4

Thanks to the world's most secret of secret societies, the most dastardly, disgusting, and despicable villains are breathing their last seconds upon this Earth and, luckily, the planet is a playground of death. Kill the Bad Guy places the player in control of making sure each of these wicked folks are put to slaughter in a myriad of ways. From falling grand pianos to dead dogs thrown from tethered trees, each death is slapstick justice writ by the Chuckle Brothers and that puppet from Saw.

Do not be under any illusion here - Kill the Bad Guy is indeed as bland, uninspired and insensitive as its name suggests. From the moment players take on the responsibility bestowed to them by this mysterious kabal, hell bent on eliminating all the nasty men from the world, they are really only punishing themselves.

Somewhere within Kill the Bad Guy is a decent game not grown up enough to show its true colours. Set around some solid puzzling mechanics, it is a strange blend of different parts, all pulling for their own slice of the stage. As a player, sitting and watching the prey walk around the white and grey city squares is a voyeuristic pleasure and, initially, the task of bringing death upon them in any which way is a guilty delight.

Screenshot for Kill the Bad Guy on PlayStation 4

Each of the sixty levels is reasonably well constructed and it's worryingly easy to start imagining which of the objects available are going to bring fire and fury upon the wandering avatar. Cars can be hacked and sent speeding into victims; pianos can be hung comically from the tops of buildings, ready for the cord to be cut; power lines can be sliced to electrify unsuspecting puddles of water. However, behind this curtain of freedom, it soon becomes clear that despite every level being topographically different, it's all modelled in much of the same way.

The agony of choice is a mere illusion as Kill the Bad Guy never finds the right balance between being a puzzle game and a sandbox in which to act out the most nefarious of desires. It often feels like it is one part brainteaser, two parts punishment sim. Some levels are a messy playground, a disparate collection of objects dotted randomly across a hastily constructed map, whilst others appear as a product of thought and design, requiring a similar level of cognisance from those in control, yet despite these odd examples of well-intended game design, Kill the Bad Guy never maintains a consistent level of quality or direction.

There are some tricky tales to be told, and trying to off a bad guy using a limited number of tools can be a challenge. There isn't always going to be a handy lawnmower lying about to make a messy job easier, after all. There are also puzzles based around offing a guy without CCTV cameras or eyewitnesses hailing the police, and that can be quite a task. However, due to the fact that being the bringer of death requires more luck than skill, and more timing than intellect, everything just ends up becoming a frustrating mess.

Screenshot for Kill the Bad Guy on PlayStation 4

Ported from a 2014 release on the PC, this never crawls out from under the bad control scheme it's been dealt on the PlayStation 4. What is a simple mouse click here, and keyboard press there, becomes a labored affair in this version. Half of the issues would be cured if it actually felt like it was possible to manipulate the objects within the world as competently as you would like. Moving objects doesn't feel as snappy as it should, and setting traps often relies not on solving puzzles logically, but by doing so through painful trial and error instead just to get the timing right. Due to the fact that the killing field relies so heavily on this repetition of activating objects at a specific moments with a muddy control scheme, gamers will often be forced to scrabble around a map, clumsily manhandling random items of death.

There are elements here of an interesting title, though, and Kill the Bad Guy does attempt to explore a very human response to crime, justice, and vigilantism. This is, though, a fleeting thought crumpled by the ill wind that continues to blow as Kill the Bad Guy isn't just inconsistent in terms of design and controls, but also in tone, which is critically where the relationship with the game and good taste breaks down completely.

Screenshot for Kill the Bad Guy on PlayStation 4

Before each kill mission, players are treated to a detailed outline of their target. What starts as a seemingly random mix of goofy drug dealers, thieves, and famous fictional ne'er do wells, slowly starts twisting into a more serious cast of characters. When factual rapists, paedophiles, and serial killers start appearing on a kill list that is also populated by Darth Vader, Lord Voldemort, Hitler, and Anders Breivik, the game's pitiful attempts at humour and slapstick start to sour. It's an approach that, just like the level design, reeks of a lack of direction and thought - like two people were making a game at separate times in separate buildings.

Add to all this a level in which the player is told that due to the stress of the job they can choose who to kill from a list of targets including their neighbour, ex-wife, or teacher. For a game that is so determined to instill the importance of killing the bad guy, Kill the Bad Guy loses all respect when it seemingly suggests that the only way to relax is actually by lowering yourself to its low level of puerile humour.

Such insensitivity is rife throughout, and even when the mechanics work sweetly and a plan comes together perfectly, Kill the Bad Guy does it's best to strike a dull tone or make light of actual horrific events. In one level, a smart player can hack a TV store to distract passers by whilst they commit their heinous homicide unnoticed and unseen. It's another interesting idea, until the TV store suddenly turns into a Porn Shop and starts displaying a silhouetted gif that is so unnecessarily graphic and suggestive that anyone would be forgiven for looking over their shoulder to see if others are watching.

Screenshot for Kill the Bad Guy on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Kill the Bad Guy never succeeds in the task it's setting out to do. Like a botched assassination, it's messy, clumsy, and insensitive. There was an interesting idea here once, yet it feels like a wasted opportunity for some genuine moments of humour and puzzle craft. With muddled controls, and even murkier morals, this game automatically lost any respect people may have had for it the moment it lost respect for its own design and direction.

Developer

Plug In Digital

Publisher

Plug In Digital

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Hmm, that sounds a bit wrong, to be honest. Very confusing direction to go in... Either go down the route of making sure all kills are getting rid of actual 'bad guys' or don't. Sounds like the team may have decided at some point during development that more 'shock' factor was needed to score extra sales Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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