Is ‘Killing Room’ Worth Buying? ($10)

Play as a game show contestant trying to keep their popularity with the viewers high in Killing Room [official site], a humorous, fast-paced, rogue-like shoot ’em up. Is it worth buying?

It’s not hard to admit that the game show, Killing Room, is a pretty sadistic idea. Sending someone into a building full of giant baby heads that drift closer and closer toward them before blowing up, knowing that they have a very low chance of coming out alive, is completely absurd. That said, it’s still better than most TV shows still running in 2016.

The whole game reminds me of that one part of Rage where you’ve been pit against a bunch of uglies in a TV game show. I can’t remember much of it, it’s all a big blur for me, but that’s the gist. Or that one episode of Doctor Who, Bad Wolf, where Rose has to play against people on a more deadly version of The Weakest Link, and if she lost she’d get incinerated. Spoiler alert: she got incinerated.

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Bloody snowmen!

Anyway, the game is an intense first-person shooter. When I say intense, I mean intense. Upon entering a room, if you’re not ready, you’ll be smoked. Health in the game is limited and there’s no natural health regeneration, so to heal you must find med kits or popularity-for-health vending machines. Combined with the fact that water is wet and your frequently explosive enemies deal immense amounts of damage, you’ll soon find yourself on low health, and it’ll stay like that until you reach the relieving elevator at the other side of the building or die. It’s intense.

Killing Room has a very important crowd popularity function, which I didn’t realise was so important soon enough. If you perform multi-kills or open doors into the side rooms that branch out from the main room line, the crowd goes wild and you gain popularity. If you open coffins, advance through main rooms or grab things from soda machines, the crowd starts booing and you lose your popularity. I don’t know why you lose it when going into another main room, I mean, how else are you going to finish the game? If the crowd likes you, you get special rewards at the end of the storey and the game becomes less hard. If they don’t like you, they’ll ensure your playthrough is a living hell, making the rooms harder and not giving you funky items after finishing the level.

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In a way, the grungy artwork in Killing Room is quite beautiful, not the ugly bugger in this picture, though.

There are some RPG elements in the game, where you use points at the end of the game to upgrade your character’s traits. I tend to upgrade my maximum health, sometimes my armour, and use extra points to add more health, because I often find myself in an exploding, fire-breathing, ice-shooting pickle. There are also bosses at the end of each level – a pain in my jolly backside. I’ve only been confronted by two of them because I can’t get past the second, a rather evil-looking snowman.

Regularly my player gets stuck on objects, often forcing me to exit and reload the game, and the character movement is something to get used to; the walking is fast and somewhat slippery, and if you’re not already familiar with it, you’ll more than likely have a bad first few tries. Also a not-so-frequent-but-still-noticeable encounter is that the enemy AI bugs out and starts flying – or running – in the opposite direction.

The gory shooter also brings a level of streamer/viewer interaction to the table. I haven’t tried it – mainly because I don’t have any friends that would be willing to watch my horrendous attempt at playing the game – so here’s a snippet from the Steam Store page instead: “You can let a real online audience decide how you will be rewarded or punished during your playthrough. Just stream the game and share the provided URL with your followers.”

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Michael Bay would be proud.

I’ve had more frustration playing half an hour of Killing Room than I have repeatedly blowing air into Nintendo cartridges for years – but not in a bad way. Getting further than before, then dying, makes me more and more eager to beat that part, then I die again, then beat that part, then die, and so on. The game is very difficult (even on the easiest difficulty), so you should probably bolt everything to your desk, just in case you go on an object-throwing rampage.

In the time I’ve spent with Killing Room I’ve had a great amount of fun, and at $10 not much can go wrong. It’s a good game and if you enjoy other first-person shoot ’em ups, you should definitely give this one a go.

👍 Killing Room IS worth the US$10 it is available for.

We were provided with a key of the game for review purpose by Alda Games, the game’s developer. This does not influence the outcome of the review in any way.