It’s clear from the get-go that You Will Die Here Tonight was CLEARLY inspired by the original Resident Evil, but there’s a lot more going on than initially meets the eye. Besides the game offering its own unique take on gameplay with its blend of top-down exploration and first-person action, it also has a very clever time-looping mechanic in place that’ll see players dying over and over again until they finally get to the bottom of the macabre mystery.
Check out some screenshots down below:
You Will Die Here Tonight puts players in the role of the Aries Division, an elite team of specialists that find themselves mysterious separated after investigating the Breckendrige Estate to take down a villainous scientist who has stolen a secret formula. Or at least that’s how the mission begins, with the team eventually succumbing to the zombie creatures that are running rampant there and dying… game over, the end, you’re all dead. Except it isn’t the end. Instead, players find themselves going through the mission briefing all over again, with the team having that little nugget of knowledge that they’ve gone through all of this before. They investigate the Breckenridge Estate again too, except this time, you’ll look for the answers behind this mysterious time loop you find yourself in along the way. Oh, and if you die again? That’s right – you’ll find yourself looping over once more. It’s a clever narrative that borrows some ideas from other popular survival horror releases, but that also showcases its own unique and creative twist by the time you uncover what REALLY is going on.
The gameplay embraces the classic vibe of the original Resident Evil, with players investigating a mansion full of zombies to kill, puzzles to solve, and, of course, secrets to unravel. Exploration takes place from a top-down perspective, but switches to a first-person view when in combat. It reminded me a lot of Resident Evil Gaiden on the Gameboy, but with a House of the Dead-style twist to the first-person action sequences. It’s a VERY satisfying combination that ensures gunning down zombies never stops being fun, with the fast-paced action demanding quick reactions and a good aim.
You’ll face off against a few different enemy types including variants of zombies, looming knights, and a particularly nasty creepy-crawly that’ll send a chill down your spine if you suffer from arachnophobia, whilst the variety of weapons on offer give players a few different options when it comes to disposing of the dead. There’s an emphasis placed on being defensive too, with players not only able to mash the A button to hold off zombies that get up close, but also able to use a shield that can deflect attacks – admittedly, it’s a little clunky to get used to, but it adds an extra element of strategy to the combat instances that’ll keep players on their toes.
“The core gameplay experience was a real treat, whilst the rogue-lite elements that see some aspects of progression carry over ensure that the looping mechanic never feels like too much of a grind.”
The only real issue I did have with combat was that it could feel a little bit easy. Most enemies are easy to pick off from a distance (except for the maids who’d often catch me off-guard with their terrifying speed), whilst it was rare that I ever found myself short on ammo. You’ll always have unlimited handgun ammo in boss instances so you’ll never run out, whilst this applies to the machine gun you can find too (which just so happens to be VERY over-powered). And sure, some of the bosses can be a bit more difficult with their powerful attack patterns, but an abundance of healing resources means you can always keep yourself fit and healthy in combat to handle them. It’s fun, but a little bit more of a challenge wouldn’t have gone amiss.
When it comes to exploration and puzzle-solving, it’s the same sort of thing you would have seen in the Resident Evil series, with plenty of locked doors to open and enigmas to solve that typically require the use of an item you’ve found in the environment or a clue that’s hidden around you. They’re pretty creative and neat to get through for the most part too… well… with the exception of the shotgun puzzle, that is. I won’t give anything away here, but it took me longer than I’d like to admit to put ‘patience’ and ‘triple-sec’ together, even WITH the dripping of clues…
There are plenty of comparisons to make to the original Resident Evil when talking about You Will Die Here Tonight, with the design of the mansion, the puzzles, the characters, and especially the ‘true’ ending sequence and its boss fight all feeling like they belong in the series. It’s very on the nose about it all though, with it clear that the game is a love letter to Capcom’s iconic release as opposed to simply trying to directly copy it. As a long-time fan of the series, it was one of the things I liked the most about You Will Die Here Tonight, so you won’t see any complaints from me. In fact, seeing each little nod brought a smile to my face, with it almost feeling like a case of playing ‘spot the Resident Evil easter egg’ at times.
Check out some screenshots down below:
And besides, You Will Die Here Tonight also has one very cool idea that gives it its own sense of identity: the way it handles death. There are six characters in the team in total that each have a specialist role, and every time you die in the game, you’ll switch to a different one. However, they also have their own little task to complete in order to put the pieces in place to reach the ‘true’ ending of the game, whether that’s finding out the next turn to take in a chess game, figuring out the code to access a special serum, or even disabling the firewall to a security system. And if you don’t complete all of those tasks in time and see the whole team dying? You’ll start the loop all over again, with the player once again starting the mission from scratch. There are some aspects that carry over between each loop (such as the weapons you have, their upgrades, and certain other items) and there’s the opportunity to respawn in a run if you use one of the ‘K’ tokens you find lying around, but there’s an emphasis placed on trial-and-error as you put all of the pieces in place.
That being said, it might have been nice if the game gave a little bit more sign posting for some of these actions. It took me three full loops before I was able to get the ‘true’ ending, but the game could have made it a bit more obvious how to kickstart this sequence by the time the opportunity comes around. Maybe it’s on me and I was oblivious to something obvious, but a bit more direction would’ve saved me a bit of unnecessary pondering – especially since I’d already completed all of the tasks required of me in the mansion and didn’t think that the necessary action would have come a little earlier in the mission.
You know what though? It didn’t stop me from having a really, really good time playing You Will Die Here Tonight, with it easily standing out as one of the more unique and rewarding survival horror games that I’ve played. The core gameplay experience was a real treat, whilst the rogue-lite elements that see some aspects of progression carry over ensure that the looping mechanic never feels like too much of a grind. And sure, it did have a few little glitches here and there, but they’re issues that don’t affect the gameplay experience and that I’d expect to see fixed quite swiftly.
You Will Die Here Tonight Review
You Will Die Here Tonight wears its Resident Evil inspiration like a badge of honour, but still manages to stand out as a unique and entertaining survival horror experience. Everything about the world and character design, the narrative, and the puzzling will take you back to Capcom’s iconic release, but the game has enough of its own clever ideas with the first-person combat, the time loop, and the unravelling of the ‘true’ ending to ensure it deserves plenty of praise on its own merits alone.
I had a really good time playing through it, and whilst the combat was guilty of being a little easy at times, it never stopped being fun blasting away at the vicious undead and finding out just what the hell is going on. Just be warned: you will die here tonight, but it’s the only way you’ll find a way to survive the ordeal.
Developer: Spiral Bound Interactive
Publisher: Spiral Bound Interactive
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)