Gimme Fuel, Gimme (Blue) Fire

HIGH A soulslike platformer!

LOW If I miss that jump one more time, I swear…

WTF Can someone Google what a fetish for elevators is called? 

It’s rare that I play something that can catch me off guard these days. Even the most unique indies tend to be fairly straightforward in mechanics and premise. Maybe I’m jaded, but nothing has come out of left-field to truly wow me lately… until I booted up Blue Fire. 

What initially seemed like a standard third-person action-platformer ended up being something completely different — and even better, it was revealed to be an addicting, entertaining hybrid of several game types. 

Blue Fire sees players controlling an unnamed protagonist who awakes in the mysterious world of Penumbra, now overcome by a darkness. Armed with a sword and traversal abilities, players will jump, hack and slash their way into restoring the world’s light. 

Right off the bat, I was not expecting Blue Fire to take inspiration from the likes of Dark Souls. While its combat is more frenetic than FromSoft’s popular series, elements like bonfires, currencies that reset upon death and an interconnected world gated by progression make their way here, and it works. Traversing Penumbra accounts for most of the playtime, and I enjoyed unlocking its secrets. 

That traversal isn’t just going from A to B, though — it’s platforming. Wall-jumping, dashes and even a useful jump that allows the hero to aim at hard-to-reach places. I love how the movement feels, and it’s challenging.

Most of that challenge comes in the form of platforming sections that act like obstacle courses of sorts. Each of these areas are rated by difficulty and have the same goal — get the hero to the end. While I found myself cursing out my Switch Lite more than I am proud to admit (thanks to missing a few jumps here and there) I loved these bits so much, reminding me of the best of 3D Mario games or other great platformers of yesteryears. 

When not platforming, the hero will be engaging in fast and frenzied combat, and I enjoyed the balance of dodging, jumping and getting a few hits in when an opening presents itself. The hero’s shield abilities also help in deflecting attacks, or knock enemies back. This aspect of Blue Fire was fairly standard and will be familiar to fans of the genre, but I still enjoyed each skirmish.

Stylistically, Blue Fire shows influence from Nintendo with UI and text boxes that feel reminiscent of their work. The hero is appropriately expressive like the best mascot platformer protagonists should be, and the writing is pretty sharp at times. One questline had me helping a random engineer who was obsessed with… elevators. Weird? Yes, but I was entertained nonetheless. 

Blue Fire is a wonderful blend of action, platforming and contemporary influences, and at the end of it all, it manages to be something truly special. I have yet to uncover every secret Penumbra has in store, but I know I’ll have a good time doing so.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is published by Graffiti Games and developed by Robi Studios. It is currently available on PS4, Switch, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately 8.5 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There is no multiplayer. 

Parents: According to the ESRB this game is rated E10 Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence, and Mild Language. The official ESRB description reads as follows: This is an adventure platformer in which players assume the role of a warrior who awakens inside a mysterious castle. Players explore the castle to unlock new areas, obtain abilities, and battle shadowy creatures and human-like figures. Players use swords to slash at enemies in melee-style combat. Battles are sometimes frenetic, accompanied by impact sounds, screen-shaking effects, and black splatters of blood. Players can engage in more protracted boss battles at the end of some levels. The word “hell” appears in the dialogue

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers:  All the dialogue is subtitled, with various visual cues alerting players of danger. Text or cues cannot be resized or altered. This game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: No, the controls are not remappable.

Cj Salcedo
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