Platform reviewed: PC
Available on: PC
Release date: October 31, 2023
You Will Die Here Tonight is a short but not entirely sweet horror game made by Spiral Bound Interactive, which puts players in the shoes of six high-level special ops characters with whom you’ll navigate a haunted mansion.
This top-down survival horror sees a special-ops task force invade a suspicious mansion in hopes of capturing its deranged owner. But with little information to go on, the group’s mission is further thrown into chaos when they are sabotaged and blindsided by a mysterious attacker. After you get split off from everyone else, you must use your wits and foresight to plan an escape, but unfortunately, you probably won’t be taking the whole group with you; some of them will die there tonight.
You must gather materials and puzzle pieces to fend off the undead that roam the mansion and solve riddles along the way. Once one character dies, you take control of the next, and then the next one, and so forth, until you’ve expended your resources and have no one else left to help escape.
At face value, there’s a lot of promise in You Will Die Here Tonight. The basis of the story, fight mechanics, and unification of characters are all interesting ideas that could help form an excellent twist on the usual zombie horror genre. However, sadly, this horror title just falls short of polishing up these factors and also fails to deliver some basic requirements. It’s for this reason that you won’t be seeing it on our best horror games list.
Blast from the past
When it comes to looks, You Will Die Here Tonight certainly does deliver, however. The top-down perspective combined with its retro aesthetic makes it stand out from other horror games that may have a similar premise.
Being trapped in an underground cavern and surrounded by attacking zombies. The transfer from a top-down perspective to a first-person point of view to shoot down all the oncoming attackers is a nice change of pace and adds to the horror.
The retro art style means that every location looks fantastic. There are gloomy libraries, mysterious subterranean lairs, and even some beautiful gardens decorated with ivy and sparkling fountains. It also makes exploring each setting far more enjoyable if there are tons of great places to admire.
Each one of the characters also looks excellent. While in top-down mode, you can only make out some minor details with the simple character outlines, but each one comes alive the closer you look. When a character begins to talk, we get a close-up static headshot; here, we get to see them better. It doesn’t stop with the cast of protagonists, though; the evil undead also benefit from this cool style.
While they can look pretty flat from afar once you enter combat mode in first-person, these creatures truly do look horrifying. Creeping up from the shadows, these undead experiments crawl and shift toward you at varying speeds, making every face-to-face encounter horrifying.
Some missing parts
You Will Die Here Tonight may certainly look the part, but unfortunately, it has several glaringly obvious rough edges. While there aren’t any real technical issues, there are some features that haven’t been well-rounded or are missing some features or tweaks.
Entering into the narrative, you get almost no time to get to know the other characters in the story. Besides walking into a room and listening to a couple of them talk about an event you have no memory of, there’s not much to tie you to these people. This means when many of them eventually die, in an assortment of weird and brutal ways, it doesn’t matter. Instead of fighting to get everyone out alive, every character is no more than a heart in the top corner of your screen.
There are also a couple of twists and turns in You Will Die Here Tonight that don’t hit as hard as they probably should. There’s a betrayal that fell flat because not only do I not know or care about the characters, but the reveal felt so wooden that I brushed straight past it. The character designs are pretty cool, and some of the one-liners they dish out can be strangely hilarious, so it’s a real shame that I didn’t feel more connected to them. There’s also the unimpressive reveal of what is truly going on in this mansion; you encounter a zombie almost straight away, which kills off any suspense.
There were also a couple of issues with story progression. At times, running around the mansion gave me tunnel vision; despite being in a huge area, every door would be locked to prevent straying off course. More often than not, it felt as if you were jumping through hoops and simply completing tasks for the sake of it and not because you truly wanted to find out more.
It’s a shame. This survival horror has high aspirations but manages to fall short of them in most aspects. The story isn’t that engaging; the riddles and puzzles can be long and quite boring, and the crafting and exploration aren’t fully fleshed out.
That being said, if you are a fan of top-down retro survival games and have a few hours to kill, You Will Die Here Tonight will scratch an itch. The entire game can be completed in less than five hours, so it’s pretty short, and while it’s not necessarily that straightforward to finish, I can see it being a satisfying puzzler for some.
There are no accessibility features in You Will Die Here Tonight, and the overall options are pretty sparse. There are a few audio settings that let you tweak the volume or general audio, as well as a couple of display options that allow you to alter the brightness, but that’s it.
How we reviewed
I completed You Will Die Here Tonight in less than five hours on PC. I tried to explore as much as possible, so it’s highly likely that you can finish this survival horror game in less time than that. I didn’t encounter any technical issues with it, and it was also pretty simple to interact with and not that taxing on my PC.
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This post originally appeared on TechToday.