From Flame Over to Game Over. AGE Review

It is every child's dream to grow up and become a fireman, put fires out and save people in distress. That is now possible on the newly released to Playstation 4 indie title Flame Over from Laughing Jackal. Flame Over sees you assume the role of Blaze Carruthers, the coolest firefighter to grace your console. It is Blaze's responsibility to extinguish all the fires and to rescue people and the odd cat in the process.

Flame Over is basically a race against the clock with the objectives stated above. Sounds easy enough? Yes? Well you would be wrong to assume this, although the objective is clear cut the journey to obtain the desired result can be quite tedious to say the least. Initially armed with only a fire hose, an extinguisher and three water bombs, it is imperative to start out strong or your game's are most likely destined for disaster. With procedural generated level design nothing is the same twice in a row with the exception of how much the fire is a pain in the ass. Although it may seem like an easy concept to go in and squirt out a bit of fire with your hose and then move on to the next section, it is actually anything but easy.

There are two main fires to extinguish being your usual household variety fire which your water hose is sufficient enough to extinguish, and there are electrical fires which still omit a grey smoke after the fire is put out and if this smoke is not seen to with the extinguisher then it will reignite. My biggest tip for this game would be to take a quick look at your map at the start of each level locate the power room and turn the power off to save the hassle of the reigniting electrical fires. Now the electrical fires are taken care of it is now smooth sailing for hipster fire fighter, he can now charge on in and just put the fire out without any hassles now, correct? No. The fire literally has a mind of its own and has the ability to fire multiple flame balls at you and anyone you are trying to rescue. Of course a fire fighting game would not be complete without intuitive fire now would it? Now that you have successfully been able to dodge the fireballs you can wipe off the perspiration infused success from your brow and push on, only to find the fire ball you successfully dodge has now reignited the furniture and walls inside the building.

Now we have highlighted all the ways this game tries to halt you in your heroic undertaking, here are some details on how you can slow the process. You may have noticed I used the word "slow" and not "stop". There is a very good reason for this. The countdown timer that is evident at the top of the screen never stops and when you complete a level and move on to the next, the amount of time remaining is the same as when you completed the last level. In order to keep the time at a manageable level you must save the civilians that are trapped in the fire. For every person you save you gain an addition minute on your count down timer. As you can see from the screen shots provided is Flame Over has a heart system for your life, not unlike many classic games. The way you lose these hearts is by not maintaining your distance from the fire and the propelled fire balls. You will have a circle around your character that begins to fill and upon reaching maximum capacity it will deduct a life from you. This is not too hard to get your head around especially after a few attempts. This encourages an in and out sort of game play.

Every second level gives the player the opportunity to visit the "store" and purchase goods with the money you earn from putting fires out and these can range from extra water balloons, increased running speed, more effective hoses etc. So it is very important to save your money and buy the gadgets that are going to best suit your situation. Also placed within every second or third level there will be a civilian you will want to save but there is a catch. The damsel in distress won't budge until you have completed some form of criteria, mostly just a fetch style objective. Once this is complete you gain a game token. These game tokens and residual earnings can all be spent on permanent upgrades to your character, whether it is a better opportunity of loot or higher rewards. Taking this into consideration Flame Over rewards persistence the more you play the better you fair.

As with most indie titles there is often a difficulty spike or a unique mechanic that determines its following and with Flame Over nothing is different. It is its undeniable initial difficulty which will define its niche following but in my opinion it is worth the toil. It is a beautifully presented game and with its randomly generated levels it encourages replay ability because this game is not going to be finished within your first sitting with it.

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