With all the political jargon about “Bad Hombres” lately, it’s appropriate that Kill the Bad Guy has finally made its way to Xbox One. Despite the misleading title and M rating, Kill the Bad Guy is more of a puzzle game than a shooter. One where the player is the maestro of death with a bevy of deadly materials at their disposal. The goal is to quickly and efficiently kill the bad guy in every level and make it look like an accident. What starts out as incredibly linear and obvious quickly turns to pick your poison when it comes to completing objectives.
Despite looking identical, every bad guy has their own unique backstory. Before a mission, you are briefed with a file of the bad guy, detailing their name, location and a bit of info on who they are. Every mission has a secondary objective which usually requires you to kill in a specific way. The player can earn up to 5 stars per level for completing all objectives. After killing the bad guy, a golden tooth will fly out, collecting it is typically a star objective. The bad guy’s passport is also hidden in every level, make sure to grab that too for another star. That is the basic gist of each level, as you progress you can choose from many ways to combine or booby trap items to make the kill. If the bad guy notices you while placing traps, he will run away and you must retry. Sometimes it’s not obvious what to do and the bad guy will make his way through the level alive. Whenever this happens the game rolls over to day 2 and you get another try. I preferred to tinker with the objects and then retry when I knew exactly how I wanted to complete the level.
I had a blast combining a rope and tree to make a slingshot, then hurling a piano across the map with perfect timing. Other objects can be used to manipulate the bad guy like barriers you can rotate and adult magazines that will get his attention for brief moments. The most impactful kills are highlighted by tons of gushing red blood. There is something just sick yet gratifying about seeing all the crimson strewn across the white level background. With over 60 levels to complete and bountiful item combinations, you really can get creative with tackling these objectives.
Kill the Bad Guy looks more stylish than graphically impressive. Most the level is white and interactable objects are grey. When the bad guy meets a messy demise we really get treated to liters upon liters of the red stuff. The contrast of drab white and grey with bright red is quite pleasing, I haven’t seen much of this style since the 2009 Wii game, MadWorld. Levels don’t take long to load and retry, keeping you in the action and enhancing the overall presentation values.
Controls are a mixed bag, there is a moderate learning curve and many times I felt overwhelmed. Combining and moving items is easy enough, but when it came to using a new item it always felt awkward. This meant I usually had to restart and redo everything I had just done and hope for the best. With the directional pad the player can also pause, speed up or zoom around the level.
Kill the Bad Guy is the sort of game that’s great to play in between AAA games. Stepping into this world for a mission or two can be very gratifying, but I don’t see many players finishing all 60 levels in one sitting. I am a huge fan of the art style and creativity in combining items. I would have preferred the controls to be a bit more streamlined and a non-blood option would have been great for younger gamers. Priced at $6.99 USD you are getting tremendous value and when you factor in the collectables and secondary objectives, the bang-for-buck value goes up even more.