Indie games don’t get enough coverage, or so I reckon anyway, so I’ve taken it upon myself to play through as many as I can over the course of a week. So far I’ve managed to play… One. It’s not for a lack of trying, but Flame Over has got me hooked like nothing else has managed to in quite some time. The game plays out as a rogue-like twin stick shooter of sorts; you control the mustachioed fireman Blaze whose job is to kill all fire. It sounds simple and at first glance it does seem rather pedestrian, but once you put in a bit of time you’ll soon realise there’s a lot more to it.
In true rogue-like fashion, Flame Over is a solid game. Like, really hard. For the first two hours I was dying every few minutes, then I discovered there’s a tutorial level as well as something called ‘patience’. The latter helped. Lots.
You control Blaze with the left stick and move the camera with the right. You’ve got a couple of tools at your disposal to help quench those pesky flames; the standard hose and a fire extinguisher, the latter being used to extinguish electrical fires. On my first couple of plays I would just run into the burning room with all the right intentions, but the completely wrong execution. Too much time spent near flames and Blaze will lose a heart, when all of his hearts are gone, he dies a heroes death before doing it all again.
Patience is key with Flame Over. If you simply dash into a room, spraying and praying, you’re gonna die. It’s not an easy game by any means, despite it looking like a cutesy game, but it does get easier over time. You collect coins for every fire you put out, and those coins can be spent to buy in-level upgrades such as more time, more health, defibrillator etc. These upgrades disappear every time you die, but there are some upgrades that remain constant. To get the upgrades you’ll have to complete “missions” where you’ll hunt down a bag, post some secret files and other menial tasks for a lady named Miss Ion. Classy.
The missions aren’t particularly deep, but they do reward you with tokens that allow you to buy permanent upgrades. These upgrades can then be upgraded further by spending the money you earn in-game. It’s a nice touch and it makes playing the game on repeat less of a chore as you’re always working towards a new upgrade that’ll make the next run a little easier. It also helps that no two levels are ever the same as the game employs procedurally generated maps for you to tackle each time.
You’ll also have to save the souls of any poor sod whose stuck in the building. It’s not a pointless endeavour as you’re rewarded with an extra minute of in-game time to complete the level. Save a kitty kat and you’ll gain a heart. Simple stuff, if only they didn’t die so damn often. That’s where the upgrades come into play though, so it balances it all out rather well.
The game’s a pretty simple looking one, but it does the job quite nicely and I never noticed any slow down in the frame rate department. The music is also top notch, but it does get a little samey after a while.
Review conducted on PS4 using code bought at the expense of the reviewer. No regrets.