Video games are meant to be entertainment. Like movies, or TV or books or anything for pleasure of sorts. But, when you cross the boundary into making it difficult for the person doing it, you need to walk a narrow line. For games, you can't have a game too hard, or else that fun or rewarding value will go down. Unfortunately this is what happened with Kaet Must Die.
You are Kaet – AKA, Kaetheran. You wake up underground, without any of your abilities. Basically you are being punished, and you need to get out of there alive, getting clues and solving puzzles all the way. It's not a terrible premise, and it reminded me a lot of survival games – especially with the “racing against the clock” aspect. Honestly, the premise is good. It's been done over a bit by now, but I like how it added a new twist on the “You wake up to find yourself here” genre, rather than go through the same hoops as similar games. Not bad.
Playing on Steam, the controls were easy enough to use. I often talk about how most controls are intuitive, but here it isn't really. You need to be ready for anything while exploring, so it's not exactly a leisurely control set-up. You need to be ready with knowing where everything is. So it's not exactly a bad set-up, it's just being sure you can do move or react quickly.
I wasn't crazy about the graphics. They looked at least 10 years old. Some of the objects I picked up were 2D, or at least very much looked like it, and that really hasn't been a thing since the PS2 era. The graphics that 'glow' were actually decent and the only parts that were really up to snuff with today's games. Everything else was in shadows (to add to the scaryness, but I also suspect to hide the fuzzyness of everything), or poorly rendered. The creatures attacking you and even little things like rats looked like they were wearing featureless bodysuits over them in proper colors. It all added up to the scaryness being taken down many notches for me. It was really detrimental to the game.
You would expect a lot of fighting in the gameplay. You play pretty much as a ripped off, first-person player from the mage class of Skyrim, complete with lighting spell. But there isn't you go around, collect mushrooms, get objects and avoid dying. Not to say that can't be bad – most horror games are about avoiding danger and solving something. But in Kaet Must Die, it almost becomes a chore. And you die randomly, with no saves. Honestly, players randomly killed me, and I confess, I went online for help to see if I needed to do something specific to not die, but no, you just die for no reason. As a parallel to life, it's pretty brilliant, but for a game meant to be enjoyed, it was terrible. A game meant to be hard like this the player can only have so much patience with, and mine grew thin quickly. A life or death scenario only kills you once, never a “Hey, remember how you died the first time? Learn from that!”. So even in trying to be really authentic they missed the mark completely.
Music and sounds. The music is random scary bars usually with jump scares. It's like what I like to call – an industrial workshop symphony peaking up at random times. Otherwise it's this weird atmospheric tone with monster sounds and evil characters laughing. In that regard it does what it sets out to do – creep you out. And it does it well. It scares you. So this is well done. Even the innocent things you do, like make light, sound a bit sinister, and it adds to the atmosphere a great deal.
The frame rate was pretty good. It never really lagged or fell apart. It also flowed together quite well. There wasn't even clipping problems which I swore was going to happen at some point. I encountered no glitches, so despite the many, many problems, it rolls on just fine.
I feel like Kaet Must Die is a game I can only recommend to a very niche group of gamers who like survival horror who have a LOT of patience. Having the game be purposefully too hard, mixed with poor looking graphics did it in for me. The game likes to kill you for no reason, and even with the survival/horror tone, it takes all the enjoyment out of it. Games with a curve of difficulty were fine – you learn how to defeat enemies, you move on, you have fun. But a relentless game like this, while appealing to some, will turn off many more, at least in my opinion. It's a game that says there are stakes, but then immediately gets rid of the stakes when it turns into a “figure out what to do like a game guide”, which follows the pattern of all the games it says it isn't. Again, if you like this kind of game you'll probably be good, even though it has little replay value. But the rewards just aren't there for people looking for an experience that has what games need – entertainment.
Final Score: 4 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.