Killer in the Cabin – Review
Follow Genre: Social betrayal
Developer: Games People Play
Publisher: Games People Play
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Killer in the Cabin – Review

Site Score
5.0
Good: Some fun mechanics implemented that can give you an edge
Bad: No players active at the time of writing at all
User Score
2.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 2.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Social games are still hot, and this was basically ignited by firestarter Among Us. This results in games with similar social betrayal elements as seen in our preview of First Class Trouble or Dread Hunger, a game that we reviewed not too long ago. We quickly experienced that it’s not easy to play such social games, mainly because you need an active community and proper servers, something that indie developers struggle with. While Among Us has a giant player base and puts you in a game in no time, other games (such as Killer in the Cabin) are not so easy to enjoy without friends.

Story

In Killer in the Cabin, you and other survivors survive a bus crash and need to stay alive in the Norwegian wilderness. Luckily, there are some cabins nearby that will suffice to let you all survive, even though food is scarce. There is one small problem: there is a killer among your group, and you need to figure out who is trying to murder you while you still work together to survive a 15-minute timer. That is if you have actual friends to play with since the A.I. in this game is quite abysmal at this point and the game has no players online. In total, we played about five games with bots and waited for multiple hours on different days to find other players without success. It’s actually sad as the game is generally priced between two and four bucks, so it’s very accessible price-wise. Would it be worth it to gather some friends and buy it? Well, yes and no.

Graphics

The graphics aren’t bad. This is clearly a game made in Unreal Engine with a third-person template, judging by how characters move around and the fact the game actually shows us some base models at the start before the skins get loaded in. While Unreal Engine makes games look good, Killer in the Cabin feels like it uses a lot of premade assets such as the template. This is also visible looking at the (only) map you can play on, which has some repetitive cabins, rocks, caves, trees, and water, meaning there is not that much variety. The developer did put in a good effort to make all the playable characters look slightly different and diverse in their cultural background, but, despite this bit of welcoming change, it feels like it’s a game that did not have a lot of custom artwork or models done. This is part of what, we feel, currently contributes to the game looking rather generic, and it prevents the game to stand out above all the others.

Sound

The sound is alright too but sometimes things sound a bit messy. Not because of the sound quality of the effects, but mostly because of the volume not being balanced enough or sounds feeling out of place. Some examples: Sometimes the little bit of music that’s present when the game indicates a new day has started, sounds way louder than the rest of the sound. When you’re inside a cabin, the sound echoes like you’re in a cave, et cetera. The variation that’s present in your choice of characters is not there when it comes to sound design. You’d expect some voice lines for each of them or at least grunts that fit them when they are in combat, but sadly these items are not present. Again, it’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that it does not feel finished or balanced enough to be enjoyable. Stuff like this makes your preferred character feel hollow.

Gameplay

At its core, Killer in the Cabin has everything in store to be an enjoyable social betrayal game. Each player, including the killer, needs to keep track of their food and water intake, their body temperature, and their sleep. The game works best with as many players as possible (8 players), as the available resources on the map do not decrease when you are with fewer survivors. There are some mechanics such as gathering specific ingredients to make a group meal that will boost everybody’s chances of having enough resources, showing how Killer in the Cabin is truly meant to be played. With more people, you will need to play more strategically and discuss who will do what. Will one person pick berries for a dish? Will one chop wood? Picking berries means a player might be an easy victim, and chopping wood means you agree a certain player will pick up an ax, so these could be some tense decisions.

While the players need to survive for 15 minutes before they win, the killer needs to finish off every single one of them. Killing is not very easy as Killer in the Cabin went for a health-based combat system. If you don’t maintain one of your four vital stats such as hunger, you start to slowly drop health that you can not get back. This makes you easier prey for the killer. There’s a rare gun to be found, but also kitchen knives and axes if you want to get physical. That being said, there are also more subtle ways to get to a player. For one, you could poison the food that’s being made for the group, extinguish the fire that supplies heat, or strangle somebody as they are sleeping. There are, however, also objects available such as a bedroom key that allows you to lock a door so you could sleep peacefully.

Like most games, there is voice chat available. We found it weird though that you can basically always hear each other talking in this one. This sounds like a very risky choice in a social betrayal game where you can easily shout whatever you want, unmasking the killer at ease. To counter this, the developers made sure you are unable to talk while sleeping or, for a few seconds, when attacked. This means that if the killer is fast enough they can finish you off before you can warn others. Now, this system might have worked fine but the combat is not that great. You basically only stab or punch straight forward and it can be hard to hit other people just running around. The game could use some improvement here (such as a lock-on system) to make murdering each other smoother.

Conclusion

Killer in the Cabin is probably the most fun with your friends, but you need to have those. It’s a game that works decently, though mostly the combat could use some extra polish or a complete overhaul. The game in its current state feels a bit like an experiment and half-finished. What’s really disappointing is that there’s nobody online to play with if you’re a solo player. This is the biggest reason why we feel Killer in the Cabin is currently subpar. At this point, the developers might be better off with making the game free-to-play with in-game cosmetics that you can buy so there will be at least some players present.

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Rating: 2.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Killer in the Cabin - Review, 2.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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