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 moustachioed 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 sods 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.
Flame Over PS4 PS Vita Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8/10
Flame Over is a fantastic game to jump in and play for a few minutes if you’re on the go with your Vita. Likewise, you could easily get sucked in for an hour or two on the PS4. It’s charming, challenging, and good fun.
- Addictive gameplay loop and one-more-go nature can keep you going for hours on end.
- Randomly generated levels mean similar challenges, but never the same.
- That. God. Damn. Music. Earworm for days.
- Occasional random crashes that haven’t been fixed since release – it’s still on version 1.0!
- Platinum trophy will test your patience for sure.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game bought at the reviewer’s expense. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro and PS Vita.
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Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella. (Bronze trophies, that is – he only has one Platinum.)