Friday, October 30, 2015

Puzzle Game Review: Fire

Note that in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I was a beta tester for this game.

Daedalic breaks from the mold for Fire, a puzzle game that takes its inspiration from games such as Gobliiins rather than the third person puzzle adventure games that are the usual fare from the company.

The game follows a caveman named Ugh, who is kicked out of his village.  He travels across the world, in search of the elusive fire, so he can bring it back to his people and be welcomed back into their fold.  Along the way, he discovers mysterious glowing creatures who are trapped in glass spheres.  Ugh must solve various puzzles in order to free these creatures and proceed on his journey.

The art style is really charming.  It's presented in a cartoon style that works for the game.  The music is also upbeat and cheerful, which fits with the cartoon aesthetic of the game.  There is no voice acting, beyond grunts, sighs, and the occasional caveman gibberish. Thankfully, the game manages to overcome this in the tradition of silent cartoon stars of the past by having him display his thoughts through his expressions.  The various animations of Ugh and the creatures he comes across are really well done.

Much like Gobliiins before it, the puzzles are in the vein of changing something about the environment around Ugh, and then interacting with an object which will be affected by the change. These puzzles are well done.  They start simple and get progressively more difficult as they go on. They never reach the level of challenge of the Gobliiins series, but a lot of them are quite creative. There are some levels that deal with things like time manipulation or character morphing, which make for some really fun puzzles.

The main drawback of the game is that it is very short.  Depending on your level of skill with games like these, you could work your way through this game in a matter of a few hours.  The game does try to combat its shortness with three optional gold medallions in each stage, which are unlocked by interacting with various objects in the environment, much like the puzzles themselves. However, this just makes the game drag on, as the puzzles aren't as entertaining the second time around.

Fire is a nice change of pace from Daedalic.  It's Gobliiins inspired game play is short, but enjoyable. The art style is charming, the animations are adorable, and the music is fun.  There is no voice acting, so there is nothing in the form of dialog, but the minimal story that is there is entertaining. The best part of the game is the puzzles.  They are really creative, especially in the later levels.  That alone makes the game worth playing, especially if you can buy it at a price that compensates for its short play time.

Final Verdict:

4 out of 5

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