It’s Killing Time Review: Take The Shot As A Professional Assassin
It’s Killing Time is an interactive text-based choose-your-own adventure game for iOS and Android mobile devices. Written by Eric Bonholtzer for Choice of Games LLC, the game lets players determine key actions and decisions made by a career professional killer. The game allows for an immersive experience without graphics or sound, using only what is written on the screen, and the imagination of the reader. This style calls back to an old kind of book that has slowly been making a resurgence on smart phones.
The story begins in a small, wooden hut within the hot and humid jungles of Columbia, where the character waits with a scoped rifle for the target: a military general and drug lord known to rule the area ruthlessly. The wait has been agonizing, as the target had been delayed several times, and the sound of a vehicle passing by puts the hired killer on edge as he waits to take the shot. From here, the game allows players to make decisions about the character’s gender, name, appearance, and the nickname people within the industry know him by. The character’s personality also begins to develop. Does he prefer firing from afar with a sniper rifle, or would he rather put on a guard’s uniform and improvise his way to the target? Does she avoid civilian casualties, or does collateral damage mean little in the face of a completed missions.
The character stats are essentially what separates the game from the old choose-your-own-adventure novels. They provide an extra level of versatility, while forcing players to make careful decisions to either focus on certain stats or aim for a well-rounded professional. Players can decide to train in certain skills between missions, or take time to rest and meditate in order to develop mentally. Stats include strength/hand to hand, ranged weapons, intelligence, and improvisation. There are also spectrum stats that deviate because of decisions with moral implications: righteousness vs ruthlessness, loved vs feared, and passion vs discipline. Finally, there is the psychotic stat which can allow for some unexpected and reckless actions, and usually stems from an irreverence to the lives of others.
It’s Killing Time also records certain important information in the game, including respect and money earned, innocents killed, and heat (i.e. how much law-enforcement attention is drawn to the assassin’s actions). Players can uncover extreme kills within the game, which are a result of dispatching targets using skillful and usually very reckless means. An individual playthrough of the story does not take long to complete, but with multiple branches available depending on sometimes seemingly-mundane choices, the game offers replay value that can continue to keep the reader on their guard.
There are possible romantic and professional relationships with other characters that can be developed. I found myself wishing there were more opportunities to take on missions with these characters. With regard to the romance, however, it all felt a bit flat. Though the three potential love interests differ from one another with personal beliefs and personalities, there is little to hide the fact that these characters exist solely to be selected as a romantic interest. This is not the result of sloppy writing, so much as the romantic interests just don’t alter the story.
It’s Killing Time is available for Android and iOS devices for $3.99, a bargain for the kind of story that it offers and the many different paths the story can take. For more information, follow the story’s creator on Twitter or Facebook.
- Easy to play and understand
- Immersive experience for avid readers
- Character stats separates this from standard Choose Your Own Adventure books
- Many ways to play and develop the main character
- More a book than a game, may not be for all gamers
- Romance element and characters are a bit flat