You Will Die Here Tonight Review – I Was Given Stars

Spiral Bound Interactive’s You Will Die Here Tonight is a retro psychological horror game that takes clear inspiration from Capcom’s Resident Evil – right down to the mansion setting, medicinal plants and smashing vases and boxes for loot.

We play as the elite Aries Division… all six of them, as they are sent on a mission to Breckenridge Hall. Upon arriving, they discover that the mansion’s employees have turned into zombies. You Will Die Here Tonight works by having us choose who to play out of this team of six. True to the game’s title, when this character inevitably dies, rather than reloading at a checkpoint, you instead pick another team member to carry on as. In some cases, death is actually needed to solve certain puzzles or is part of the story.

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This looks familiar…

The storyline in You Will Die Here Tonight was a pleasant surprise; what starts out as a seemingly simple zombie outbreak plot turns into something more interesting and it certainly kept me intrigued for the five hour runtime. It maintains the same level of cheesiness that we love in retro horror games, but also adds a bit more complexity and the dialogue is also less cringe-inducing that a lot of other titles in this genre.

You Will Die Here Tonight has a heavy resemblance to the first Resident Evil. It’s set in a very similar mansion and even the retro graphics and top-down camera bear a heavy likeness to the 1996 classic. However, Spiral Bound Interactive has resolved one of my biggest pet peeves with the original Resident Evil design and that’s how it deals with combat. No longer do you have to point your playable character in the general direction of the enemy and hope for the best with the awkward top-down camera because You Will Die Here Tonight switches to first-person whenever we enter combat. It’s a brilliant way to keep the retro horror look while also making combat more innovative and fair.

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Oh, come on now…

When coming up to an enemy, the camera will quickly switch to first person where we can move between our weapons and turn 360 degrees (but you can’t move) to ward off any enemies flanking us. This makes combat much more exciting and I particularly enjoyed the few boss fights in You Will Die Here Tonight. I was also impressed with how the enemies would always be an accurate distance away to where they were in third-person mode. However, I did wish there was more variety in the backdrops of these first-person moments as they usually use the same room design for each area, so a lot of the time the room used in the first-person mode looks nothing like the room you’re actually in. I also found that You Will Die Here Tonight lacked in enemy variety. Although the zombie types do gradually get stronger as you progress, these are the main enemy you’ll face in the game save for a few boss fights. 

The sound design in You Will Die Here Tonight is brilliant. The enemy noises used as you’re exploring the mansion are really disturbing and did a great job at raising my anxiety levels which is much needed with the challenge of using retro graphics in a horror game. However, there is a distinct lack of music which I feel like the game would have benefited heavily from to help boost the atmosphere. 

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The first-person mode is a brilliant design choice to help improve combat when using a top-down camera during regular exploration. 

The graphics in You Will Die Here Tonight do a great job at bringing to life this retro look. The top-down shots, again, reminded me a lot of Resident Evil whereas the first-person perspective was reminiscent of retro first-person shooters such as Doom. When needed, the game will switch to an illustration when the character stumbles across something particularly gruesome to better portray the horrors they are looking at. However, I did feel like this technique was only put to good use in the first hour or so of the game as it’s not used much later on despite being effective in showing what the retro graphics and top-down camera cannot. 

I did find the controls very confusing to begin with, the main reason for this being that you can’t check back on them once you’ve started the game which is an… odd design choice. On keyboard and mouse, you use the number keys to switch between weapons in your inventory. For some reason, this does not apply to melee weapons even though the UI during first-person mode implies that you would use the D-pad to switch between them all on controller. Instead, your melee weapon is selectable using the space bar, which is shown in the tutorial but, as mentioned before, you can’t refer back to the controls menu later on, so if you forget this detail you may think you’re experiencing a glitch like I did for half the game until I searched through the Steam discussions. This was responsible for the majority of my deaths in the first half of You Will Die Here Tonight as I would run out of ammo and not be able to switch to a melee weapon. You can flee from combat it if gets overwhelming but if an enemy gets too close to you again it will draw you back into first-person mode.

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The game will switch to an illustration when it wants to show something particularly gruesome that its retro graphics won’t do justice. 

As mentioned before, upon death you simply switch to one of the other remaining characters on the team. Puzzles will remain solved and shortcuts will remain unlocked, your weapons and upgrades will also carry across – I even found that damage made to a boss’ health bar will also remain in character switches which I like a lot! And you’ll even see the deceased team member on the map which the current playable character will comment on. As you explore the map, you can collect coins which you will put to use if you die too many times and run out of characters, allowing you to carry on from the last checkpoint. So, you may be wondering what happens if you run out of coins? Permadeath. This was probably the biggest downside to You Will Die Here Tonight as, although it’s a short game of around five hours, replaying the whole thing again straight away because you died too many times is incredibly frustrating and also not something I was expecting. I thought “game over” would set me back somewhat, but not force a complete restart. 

You Will Die Here Tonight is a fun psychological horror game. It has its flaws, especially when it comes to the keyboard and mouse controls, but for me my biggest problem is the permadeath mechanic. Despite this, it’s a relatively short game and any fans of the old school Resident Evil games will enjoy this too. 

Jess played You Will Die Here Tonight on PC with a review code.

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