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You Will Die Here Tonight Review - A Brutal Retro Survival Horror Game!


You Will Die Here Tonight Review by Silent Signs

PC/Steam

10/31/23

Spiral Bound Interactive LLC


I sure do love me a literal title and I have found perhaps THE most literal title of all: You Will Die Here Tonight, a top-down retro survival horror title with fast-paced, first-person arcade action that promises to kill you off again and again. But should you be dying to get your hands on a copy of this game, or will it bore you to death? Let's discuss!


You Will Die Here Tonight opens up on Katherine Olsson, a new recruit to the Aires Division, as she enters her first day on the job and receives her inaugural assignment: find convicted killer Jeffrey Monroe at the abandoned Breckenridge Hall and take him in-- dead or alive. While that may sound like a straight-forward task, anyone who knows anything about survival horror games knows that nothing good comes from a mysterious, deserted mansion.


You might assume, using similar horror game logic, that the plot would remain predictable, but you'd be mistake. I wasn't expecting a lot of effort to be put into the story, but there are actually some fun twists and turns that keep this game interesting.


A screenshot of zombies attacking from You Will Die Here Tonight
First-person zombie action in You Will Die Here Tonight

I won't spoil the story for you, but I will reveal that one of the best twists here is the gameplay itself. You begin as Katherine Olsson, but as the name implies, you WILL die there and, when you do, you will return as a different member of the Aires Division. Dying in the mansion typically means you succumed to the clutches of the symptomatic housekeepers and waitors that roam the halls, but there are also some puzzles and traps that can claim your life.


Exploration is viewed from the top-down perspective, but the moment you enter into combat, the perspective changes to first person and you can take your aim at enemies with firearms, knives, fists and more. The combat system is intuitive, encouraging you to choose your own playstyle. You can either carefully take your aim and line up your attack, or you can enter into combat guns blazing, forgoing your reload entirely and frantically thowing hands when you run out of bullets. I found some success in both manners of gameplay, and any way you slice it, it's an inherently fun combat system. When enemies grab you, you can mash a button to free yourself before you are bitten. Attacks cause damage, which can be treated with medicine and health kits that are placed haphazardly around the manor.


A screenshot of the character selection screen in You Will Die Here Tonight
When you die, you'll return as another member of the Aires Division to pick up where you left off

Here's where things get really interesting. Every item you take, every chest you break, i'll be watching you. Sorry, I couldn't resist. In seriousness, almost everything you interact with on a run with one character will remain that way after your death. This won't pertain to key items like a valve to open doors or the notes you've collected, but it does pertain to bullets you collect, pathways you open, weapons you happen upon and health kits you gather. Oh, and your fallen teammate? Yeah, they're a zombie now and if you kill them you can take your stuff back. Did i feel guilty? A little, but I did what I had to do, okay? Don't look at me like that! This also means that you'll want to collect items and open chests with some degree of strategy so you don't screw your next teammate over in the event of a death. And you will die here tonight (probably a lot).


It was hosestly a really refreshing twist on a genre I already love, and it made me constantly think twice about the actions I was taking. Further adding to the strategic nature of this title, each character plays a bit differently and has their own unique strengths. For example, the game makes it comically clear that Eric is a gun guy. He's such a firearm enthusiast, in fact, that he's able to make upgrades to your weapons. He might not be the sharpest tool in the toolshed, but he does know his guns and that helps a ton. In sharp contrast to Eric, we have Ashley who knows how to craft healing items and speaks eloquently. Between Ashley's astute observations and Eric's technical know-how and quick quips, the two of them quickly because my favorite entities to embody.



A screenshot of some funny dialogue in You Will Die Here Tongiht
This game definitely has a sense of humor

When you're not fighting zombie maids or enchanted suits of armor, you're solving puzzles, unraveling riddles and finding keys all in the hopes of completing your mission and escaping the mansion. Puzzles are typically pretty straight-forward to solve with the right clues, though I will admit I got hung up on a chess piece puzzle. This may have more to due with my chess ineptitude so I can't fully hold this against the game, but I'll put the warning out there for anyone that is similarly chess illiterate.


Chess puzzles aside, the puzzle and overall gameplay remained consistently challenging yet doable. I was rarely at a loss for what to do next, there is a simplistic yet effective map and inventory system, and the death/rebirth cycle never irreparably impeded my progress, leaving me with a glimmer of hope. I had no expectations for this game, but I find myself pleasantly surprised and amused.


Call me crazy, but one of my favorite aspects of You Will Die Here Tonight is visual presentation, blending pre-rendered graphics with a nostalgic 3D style that feels simulaneously fresh and familiar. There's something so nostalgic and charming about this graphical style that I couldn't help but smile while exploring the decrepit boiler rooms and cobweb-infested attics. The character animations are equally charming, with even the weight to their movements feeling a bit different.


The sound design is highly effective in creating an unsettling atmosphere that perfectly complements the bloody visuals and winding corridors of the mansion. I wouldn't necessarily call the majority of backing tracks "music," so much as eerie synths and drones, but that seems to be what the setting is begging for. There's minimal voice acting, save for your sporatic grunts and groans during combat, but I always prefer this to AI or less than stellar, budget performances. Rather, You Will Die Here Tonights opts for a subtle text-scrolling sound that doesn't detract from the uneasy atmosphere they have built. Some other nice touches like keyboard strokes, creaking doors and heavy footsteps tie everything up in a bloody brilliant bow.


A screenshot of exploration in You Will Die Here Tonight
Can you escape the mansion or will you die here tonight?

Overall, You Will Die Here Tonight is a highly enjoyable product and my favorite horror-themed game I've played this season. The plot goes surprisingly deep, the occasional attempts at humor did make me chuckle, the puzzles were mostly satisfying, the presentation is pleasing and the game kept me wanting more. The writing is goofy, though perhaps intentially so, and there is some degree of backtracking required, but it is a game I would go back to play again when I'm craving some nostalgic horror.


While it may not turn the genre completely on its head, it does enough to stand out from the zombie hordes, so I am awarding You Will Die Here Tonight a Silver Genie Lamp. Check this one out if you're longing for some of the fun of the original Resident Evil with a bit of House of the Dead thrown in for good measure.


Pros:

+ Fun rendered graphics

+ Exciting first-person combat

+ Great puzzles

+ Unique story and twist on the genre


Cons:

- Some backtracking

- Chess puzzle (ugh)


Silver Genie Lamp for great games
Silver Genie Lamp

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