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Flame Over Review – Pyroguelike
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Platforms: PS Vita (PSN)
Recommended Price Point: $9.99
There is finally a reason for me to pick my Playstation Vita back up. Flame Over, from UK based developer Laughing Jackal, really has the indie games scene heating up (sorry, I had too.) This twin-stick shooter with roguelike elements is a blast. If you would have asked me a year ago if I would enjoy playing a game where you play as a firefighter, I probably would have laughed. Flame Over has shattered that whole perception. This quirky game had me putting out fires for hours, and I’m still not sick of it. Combined with a very warming personality and great gameplay mechanics, this game will have you hooked from the very beginning.
You play as a mustachioed firefighter working for a London based fire department. You have one job to do, save Infernal Industries from burning to the ground. While dousing fires with either your hose or your extinguisher, you have to save the employees and a few cats from burning with the building. If you save a cat, you earn more health, and if you save a human then you earn yourself some more time. Be careful though, the fire is fierce. The developers did a great job at making the fire feel like it is alive and attacking at full force.
Within Infernal Industries are four different departments, and each of them have their own unique hazards. You start off on the ‘Office’ level of the building. Here you have to deal with walls of fire, backdrafts, and all kinds of fireballs coming after you while you soak the rooms. The ‘Executive’ department has all the woes of the first level, but also has carpet fires and pillars that block the spray from your hose. The ‘laboratory’ has the problems that the previous floors have, but also has some gas leaks and acid spills to deal with. The ‘factory’ ends the game off with tons of problems. You have to deal with every issue that is going on in the previous floors, plus bouncing fireballs and explosions.
Flame Over has tons of personality. You first get to know your character by watching the opening cut-scene where he is seen throwing down some weights he was lifting. You get a view of his office, littered with garbage and workout equipment across his desk. Then while he is driving to his recently called in fire, you see his cup of coffee in the cup holder. Those subtle touches go a long way in developing personality in a character, which take rightful place of a story-line.
This game’s soul is outlined in it’s level design. This game has a well crafted randomly generated level design system. There are specific rooms inside Infernal Industries that catch on fire in different ways than any other room. For instance, a server room is going to have a lot more electrical fires than a bathroom. Every department of the building looks and feels like it’s real life counterpart. It was really fun to run around a level when all of the fires were put out and just inspect the environment I was in.
There is just so much character in this game. Among the helpless employees in the office, there is a lady named Miss Ion. This broad will not leave the office until you find her red handbag that is scattered somewhere within the floor that is currently covered in flames. Once you deliver her purse, you are rewarded with an upgrade token that helps your character. You can buy things like added resistance to fire or longer windows to revive fallen employees. It adds a nice RPG element to the game. Within the levels is a server room. Once reached, there is a button in this room that neutralizes all electricity. After doing this, you no longer have to deal with electrical fires, making this deed a vitally important one.
The rogue-like mechanics are done very well. You have three hearts, which are your hitpoints. Every time that your character gets too burnt up by the fire, he loses a heart. You are on a five minute timer. If you can’t put out all of the fires in time, then you lose. Even though there are ways to get more hearts or add time to the clock, this game is really difficult. This was my first roguelike experience, so at first it was actually very frustrating. I knew how the genre worked, I just never had to execute the process. After a couple hours of dying left and right, it clicked and I started to really heat up (shoot, there it is again.)
I’m currently having a blast playing this game. I will admit, the fact that this is my first roguelike game plays a big role in that. But more importantly, the uniqueness of this title cannot go unnoticed. We are living in a world where everything is dark and has zombies in it. Playing as a firefighter in a bright world is a nice breath of fresh air. This game is very punishing. I do think either the timer should be extended, or the amount of life points you are given should be built upon at least a little bit. I found myself dying a lot within the first few hours of me playing, and not to brag, but I would not call myself a bad gamer. Even though I was dying a lot, I was having fun, and to me, that is what matters most. For ten dollars, I would absolutely recommend picking this game up. I played Flame Over on the Playstation Vita.