Who are THEY?
They say patience is a virtue and that practice makes perfect, we have no idea who THEY are exactly, but they might have been onto something as you will need both in abundance if you wish to conquer this platform puzzler from Village Beach, a two-person development team from Italy. Killer Chambers is a game that will test your ability to remain determined in the face of constant failure, a bit like plugging a USB stick in the right way in poor lighting, so let’s take a closer look.
An Unexpected Party
Did you ever read The Hobbit and think, poor Bilbo, just settling down for dinner when a bunch of Dirty Dwarves knock on his door and spoil his evening? well that is exactly how Killer Chambers begins, our protagonist is about to tuck into what we imagine is a well-deserved dinner when suddenly the castle is besieged. The king has been slain and you must enter the castle to find out what is happening but of course, it’s not that simple.
Instead of a leisurely walk through a town full of corpses and enemies, you instead encounter a rather dashingly attired ghost who informs you that he has set a series of traps for you to overcome in order to reach your destination. Said ghosts will pop up at regular intervals to keep the plot moving along and thankfully the dialogue on hand is pretty amusing, there were more than a few times we blew air out of our nose in genuine amusement.
Constant Repetition Carries Conviction
We know, that header sounds like one of those annoying buzz words you hear all the yuppie sorts saying as they prance around the office in their Primark suits with a gym membership card poking out the breast pocket in an effort to look trendy, but in this case, that header is very apropos. Repetition is the order of the day here as the concept for Killer Chambers is very simple, progress through a series of rooms filled with traps, to do so you must survive until the hourglass, handily located on the top right of the screen, runs dry.
To avoid the traps you have a simple set of abilities, moving, jumping and crouch jumping. That is all, and that is all you will need. After a brief tutorial to get you to grips with things you are let loose, each level has three difficulties, the default level will award you with a key which you will need in order to unlock the next level. Should you wish to challenge yourself further, you can return to a completed room and attempt it on two additional difficulties, one will reward you with gems and another will reward you with gold. These can be spent in a shop to unlock special hats and abilities to help you on your journey such as slime that will stop a trap and grant you some reprieve. There are various items to choose from so it is worth experimenting a bit to find which items benefit your play style.
Curse the Boss
It is safe to say that death will come regularly during your time with Killer Chambers, as if that wasn’t bad enough, each time you die you fill up a curse meter, once this is filled you are sent to a cursed chamber which you must conquer in order to carry on. These curse chambers are tougher and more elaborate and will require some quick thinking on the players part.
If you do manage to make some good progress and get through a whole floor of the castle, you will be rewarded with… a BOSS BATTLE. Once again, these particular outings are tough and require persistence and skill to overcome. We have to say that Killer Chambers is well executed in its simplicity but it wasn’t particularly our cup of tea. Though there is likely a market for this type of experience the mass appeal will be minimal.
One thing that must be said for the whole experience is how good it looks. Yes, it is once again a throwback art style but it works really well here. The dark gothic imagery suits the style of the gameplay perfectly with chambers being brought to life with moody lighting and the blood and slime effects help to keep the palette fresh. Controls are also responsive which is a mercy considering the game revolves around well-timed jumps and movements to prevent an arrow from getting lodged up your trap door!
Loading and general performance are to a good standard, though our time was spent primarily in handheld mode we had no issues and as punishing as the experience was it was strangely addictive and perfect for pick up and play sessions, though we would suggest a screen protector and a support case just in case the frustration becomes too much and your switch suddenly hits the deck.
Killer Chamber is a well-conceived puzzler for those who like to be tested. Though the repetition and challenge will put some gamers off, there is something rewarding here for the select few who want to test their reflexes and all for a friendly price and tiny download size of 89 MB.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, PlayStation, Nintendo, Xbox
Release Date: 14/12/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Arcade, Platformer
Developer: Village Bench
Publisher: Village Bench
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop