Dying of Thirst Does Horror Comedy Exactly Right

Posted on Apr 12, 2021.

The premise of Dying of Thirst is deceptively simple: you’re thirsty, and you need some water. You have a cup, and there’s some water at the kitchen, and you should go get it. Unfortunately it’s terribly late at night, and shadows abound in this ominously murky house. You can’t turn on the lights too, in case you wake your parents up. It really shouldn’t be that difficult, right?

Except it really is. Dying of Thirst isn’t just hyperbole; there is something so inexplicably hideous lurking in the shadows, and every step you take away from the comforts of your room feels like you’re edging ever so slightly towards imminent danger. And even after reaching the kitchen to fill your cup, the persistent feeling that something is stalking you never quite goes away.

Then there’s its precision-perfect comedic timing. This is often a tricky stunt to nail, particularly with games when the rhythm, the pacing, and even the tempo of every delivery can be congruent with the player’s very actions and decisions. What if they dally for far too long? What if they get lost in the often labyrinthine maze of the level before they get to the joke? What if they are too spooked to get to the punchline? Fortunately, Dying of Thirst is a mercifully short game—one you can probably complete in 15 minutes or less—which also means that its comedic delivery hardly has any room to go out of rhythm. Pair all these up with the intentionally low-poly—and creepy—textures of the game, and Dying of Thirst is probably one of the most sublime and succinct examples of horror comedy games I’ve ever experienced.