With reality TV getting more and more ridiculous, it wouldn’t be so out of place to imagine a future where people are literally fighting to the death on live television, where being as theatric as possible is key to survival rather than actual skill or wits. Well it worked in Rome, so why not in the future.
This concept is what developer Alda Games is setting out to create with their latest title Killing Room combining Rogue-like dungeons with FPS mechanics.
Arguably the game’s main source of inspiration for the general feel and tone of the story is the 1987 movie The Running Man starring the ever-lovable Arnold Schwarzenegger. What sets it apart from the movie however, is the sheer amount of black humor present in it, some of the jokes really hit their mark, parodying the current state of video games and TV programs but the rest just comes off as forced and awkward.
What separates Killing Room from countless other rouge-likes however, is the voting system. You can stream your game live anywhere you want, and the stream will include a link which your audience can go into and vote. If the audience votes you high enough, you get rare items to help you along the way.
The general game play however feels rough around the edges. You will start in an area filled with 8 randomly generated rooms with each having enemies, items, traps and so on. You have 15 weapons, although a few of these weapons are creative such as a literal flyswatter or a pair of garden scissors but the rest fill out the general FPS toolkit: Shotgun, Assault Rifle, etc. The items are admittedly creative but are usually references to other well-known franchises and after a while it starts to get annoying.
After completing the rooms you are thrown into a boss fight. The bosses are just bigger and more buffed up versions of the enemies you already fought. Their patterns are predictable and they are pretty easy to beat, for example you could defeat the first boss just by staying in a corner away from them, shooting your pistol with infinite bullets and occasionally jumping when the enemy does his incredibly easy to avoid laser attack.
The visual style of the game is forgettable at best and muddy at worst. What’s lacking here is a sense of visual coherence, the assets don’t match together. The voice acting in this game is the type of cheesy that works sometimes, and the catchphrases are so ridiculous that they are impossible to criticize, however the lines from other characters just feel like bad acting with innuendos turned up to eleven.
Killing Room certainly has some interesting surprises up its sleeve when it comes to gameplay innovation, the enemies are creative and the item descriptions are usually funny yet the rest of the game just feels average in comparison and does little to nothing else to stand out from the crowd.