You Will Die Here Tonight starts out as close as one could get to copying the Resident Evil formula without warranting a lawsuit. But this game quickly changes things up and presents an intriguing take on survival horror where death isn’t the end, but it’s not completely enjoyable either.
The ARES squad has been called in to take out a deranged man in a mansion who also has a bioweapon that can turn people into the undead. But when they arrive, a mysterious light knocks them all out, leaving the medic the only one alive. This is quickly resolved when they are murdered and the newly added team member turns out to be a traitor, but she soon finds herself being betrayed and killed. Normally this would be the end of the game, but then time rewinds and we find ourselves back at the start of the investigation.
You Will Die Here Tonight‘s design is that after the prologue, you can choose from any one of the six members of ARES to explore the mansion. Each member has a specific specialty that comes into play. Besides solving the required puzzles and gathering the needed clues to move on, there are a number of items that upgrades that can only be used by specific characters. Eric, the resident gun nut, can use weapon upgrade kits to permanently improve the weapons that the squad can use.
Due to the nature of the game, there are many death traps that can instantly kill party members, but death is the only way to swap between characters. It’s an interesting structure that lends to being more of a roguelite with persistence rather than survival horror, and that also goes with how combat works.
First Person Survival
The game borrows the kind of combat design from a few of the Game Boy Resident Evil spinoffs. Instead of fighting enemies in the isometric view point, the game cuts to a first person perspective where you can free aim and attack any enemies that are in the surrounding area. It kind of reminds me of the House of the Dead style, as enemies will lurch towards you and you’ll need to use your limited ammo or knife to stop them.
In terms of difficulty, one of the more annoying aspects of the combat (and UI in general) is swapping between your guns and knife. When an enemy grabs you, you need to mash “attack” to get them away, which automatically swaps you to your melee instead of back to your gun, which can lead to combat feeling awkward in places.
That sense of awkwardness is a good summary of You Will Die Here Tonight — that there’s a good concept here, but it doesn’t quite get explored enough.
You Will Die Here Tonight‘s combination of survival horror and roguelite design is an interesting one, but it feels a bit shortsighted. The game commits a cardinal sin of roguelike/lite design — there is no variance between runs. Every character handles the same way, uses the same weapons, and has the same path through the game. The only differences are with their dialogue is, inventory capacity, run speed, and what elements they can enhance for future runs. The game’s roguelite nature is really there to serve as an excuse for the different death traps that can happen upon failing puzzles. But it also means that despite these elements, this game is not really a roguelike, but simply uses those trappings to tell a linear story.
Even the survival horror eventually goes away, as you are allowed to keep your weapons across runs and with enough upgrades you can handle any fight in the game. I do like the passive upgrades to improve your ability to hold ammo, and you will become noticeably stronger at combat over the course of the game.
But therein lies another problem, if the game isn’t really a roguelike, and not really a survival horror, then what is it?
There is an intended end to the game, with an ending that leaves more questions than answers. I ended up enjoying this one more than I thought I would, but I could imagine taking this concept further in the future.
You Will Die Here Tonight doesn’t quite make it as either survival horror or a roguelite, but it does present an interesting premise. If you’re looking for an original concept, with some clunkiness here and there, this is a great game to try and one I hope the developers continue to explore this concept further.
This was played with a press key provided by the developer
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