Death of the Critic

The Backlog - Kill the Bad Guy

Written by: Tom Blaich


I have a confession to make. Like many of you reading this, I have a list of games that I’ve been meaning play for years. I have way too many games on Steam, and a stack of cases sitting next to my TV. Close to five hundred games now. Maybe more. It makes me feel guilty. I haven’t touched 90% of them in one way or another. I need to fix that. So this week, I dug deep into my backlog and pulled out a game. I want to play all of them; I’ve just never had the chance. Now’s the time.

Sometimes games try to be cary about their actual themes. They try to abstract them behind layers of gameplay and story that you have to dig through to find the “real meaning”. Kill the Bad Guy is not that game. It wears what it is proudly on its sleeve, a shallow, timing based physics puzzler all about satisfying those 2AM revenge fantasies on serial killers, psychopaths, and general assholes who make the world worse off. And when it is just this, it can be an enjoyable, if morbid, good time.

However, they do try to include some real world monsters in the roles of your targets, and here the black humor falls flat. It succeeds when we can forget that people like this actually exist, but reminding us of people like Alfred Fish in an ostensibly humorous game just feels weird, and not necessarily in a good way.


You are a member of a world spanning shadowing cabal of assassin’s tasked with secretly righting the wrongs of the justice system, catching those who slip through the legal cracks. You are almost a homicidal Looney Tune, rigging up ridiculous contraptions to stealthy splatter the bad guys blood all across the minimalist landscape. You do this by interacting with certain parts of the world, helpfully darker than the non-interactive parts, and you can click on them to combine, rig, and modify into parts of your dastardly creations.

But you have to be careful. You can’t be seen killing your target by police, civilians, or security cameras, or the mission will be failed. Kill a bystander, whether they be innocent civilian or bad guy henchman, and the mission fails. If your target sees you changing something, they will try to escape the level. If they do, the mission fails. Luckily you can use this to your advantage, baiting them through the level by dropping things into their path so they run into a more secluded part of the level where you can easily dispatch them.


The deaths are comically violent as you drop piano’s from rooftops, Hotwire parked cars to ram into people, and rig manhole covers to explode into the air. Unfortunately the depth just isn’t there. The first time you use these methods are awesome. By the fourth, they get old. There are 60 levels divided up into six sets, each adding another element. But each element is easy enough to adapt to and rarely did I spend more than a few minutes on each level. The solutions were fairly obvious and I could beat most levels in just a few tries. Sometimes it felt more like a matter of dumb luck as to if I would be seen or not.

When you pulled off a truly ridiculous kill, it was a whole lot of fun, like getting to catapult a dead dog into an evil man’s frail, blood filled body using a tree and a segment of rope. But after a few levels it started to feel too similar. Like the kills were repeating themselves too quickly. It is an interesting nugget of an idea that gets stretched too thin without enough content or challenge to support it. It’s a good way to spend an afternoon, but you probably won’t go back to it after that.



Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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