You play a nameless warrior who awakens in a test tube. As you look around, it becomes clear that you are not the first warrior to be made. Hundreds of discarded corpses are scattered around the room, wearing the same clothes as you. You wake up in Penumbra, a vast kingdom floating in the sky where the gods rest. Penumbra, once a vibrant and bustling place, is now deserted and shrouded in shadows. The mysteries of who you are and what you are doing here are immediately apparent and will become clearer as you progress through the game.
You are always spoiled!
The story of Blue Fire is very similar to that of LoZ, where the main character wakes up and embarks on a massive mission to save the queen. During the journey you encounter a variety of omniscient beings, gods, corrupt and amusing secondary characters. Even cities and temples have a very similar structure with visuals and even soundtracks. You have a forest temple, a water temple, a fire temple, etc., each with a main object that you acquire to help you on your journey, and also a corrupted main monster. As I said, there are certainly many similarities, but there are also many things that give an impression of novelty.
While LoZ Temples relied heavily on puzzles based on objects or pressure plates, Blue Fire also includes platforming challenges. Platforming reminds me very much of Hat in Time with the way the controls work and the overall volume of obstacles in 3D platforming. The game even has a “sufficient” animator as a direct reference to A Hat in Time. The trainer is solid, responsive, and at times truly challenging. The challenges of the main temple platformer are never unfair, but you will sometimes go wild in the void of obstacles.
Welcome to the Void Challenge. Good luck!
The empty gates are spread out for you by other warriors in Penumbra. They will test your platforming skills and are usually the most difficult obstacles to overcome. As you progress through the game, you unlock new skills, so you may have to revisit some Void Gates later. In Void Gates, you collect void fragments that you can spend at a merchant to increase the number of souls you can equip. In addition, by filling in the voids yourself, you gain an extra heart.
I think it’s a good time to delve into the basics of the game and what you’ll be collecting. Blue Fire has a number of collectibles. You have your main currency, ore, which is used to unlock temples and the most common items from the merchants. Shadow fragments are collected when you win from enemies and are used to increase your mana supply in the shrines. Large minerals such as sapphires and rubies can be exchanged by merchants for large portions of common minerals.
With eighteen different ghosts, you can significantly change your play style.
In addition to consumables, collect items for players and secondary characters that cannot be sold. Player items usually take the form of additional moves, such as double jump, wall race or sword trick. However, you will be able to collect a wide variety of swords and tunics by completing missions and side quests, or simply by buying them. The swords have damage reduction, but the tunics are there for aesthetic reasons only. I mentioned earlier a way to increase the number of slots for souls, so you can equip more than one. Souls can be found or purchased in Blue Fire and allow you to customize gameplay. Various effects: no fall damage, faster running, increased sword rotation level, increased ore extraction, stealing enemy health, and more.
In Blue Fire, you’ll encounter all sorts of secondary characters, from wacky to grumpy to sinister. Each has a different story, personality and even family members. In some cases you have to find and collect things, in others you face all sorts of challenges. At one point you meet a stuttering creature trying to rob a house, and then you help a boy find his mother. I’ve always enjoyed meeting and helping secondary characters.
Mork must retrieve the missing books, but Mork will also sell you great spirits.
I am always impressed with how this game makes me want to continue with the quests. I feel the magic and mystery that I know from games like LoZ. Whether I was imagining the next dungeon or the wacky character I would meet, I felt how it drew me back. Unfortunately, not everything is perfect. Some inconveniences and quirks are due more to bugs than to design or gameplay.
First, I had three glitches on the dashboard. Second, a strange glitch that occurred after a deep fall to the ground where I kept getting fall damage when I tried to jump. These were the two biggest problems I encountered, the others were more of a one-time glitch. At one point I was able to get through a closed door without having found the switch beforehand. I fell through it. I got stuck on invisible walls. The discovery of bumps sometimes didn’t register. Unfortunately, these little things were so frustrating that it diminished my enjoyment. Fortunately, these are bugs that can be fixed at launch or will be fixed soon, but my time was like an unrefined indie game. Which is a shame, because I love everything else about it.
Visually, Blue Fire is a bit of a hodgepodge and that is probably my least favorite aspect. The design of the characters and visuals reminded me of Wind Waker with its simplistic textures and poppy colors. But there are times when they try to add textures and then it becomes very cumbersome. I love the different characters and levels of drawings and their unique features and personalities, all of which are very well rendered. Unfortunately, the enemy designs leave a lot to be desired. There is not much variety in the enemies, further there is a lot of overlap with this particular aesthetic of the temple. Despite the specifications of my computer, the stretching distance of many objects is very small. Fortunately, the main objects to collect are fully visible, but there are many ambient objects coming in and going out.
There are wonderful levels of design everywhere. It is the flow of falling fire, it can lead to a dungeon of fire. It can.
The soundtrack is excellent, and I’ll make another comparison with LoZ here, but as before, it’s not too bad. I love the playful melodies of the forest in the light and talking crazy characters. The wide range of instruments used to create a sense of relaxation, fear or possibly danger is well done. The tracks are created by Ariel Contreras-Esquivel, who has already done some indie parts, but his work on this particular track is excellent. Aside from some grunts and cinds, there are no real vocals, but the various sound effects are well thought out. The grass growing under your feet, the noise of the guns, and everything is so clean.
If you’ve made it this far or want to earn points, don’t let the score fool you. I absolutely loved Blue Fire and I think it is an incredible indie title that is definitely worth your time. The obvious inspiration from the greats and the way it combines elements of action, adventure, RPG and platform into one game is fantastic. However, it suffers from an immature indie feel. Fortunately, most of my problems have to do with bugs that can be fixed rather than the design or choice of gameplay. Blue Fire really could be your next dose of nostalgia, brought to modern times.
|The visual bag is a bit of a mixed bag. High quality character and level design with an artistic Wind Waker-like design. However, the texture work is mediocre and the enemy drawing is poor.||A fantastic combination of the best action-adventure and platform games of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The combat is not spectacular, but the platforms and overall gameplay are delightful.|
|The soundtrack is gripping and conveys an atmosphere of Zelda legend with instrumental tracks that range from playful to sinister to epic boss fights. The overall sound design is also well thought out.||Despite a few bugs, Blue Fire offers a wonderful experience that recalls the nostalgia of the old action-adventure platform games, but also offers its own ideas.|
|Final verdict: 7.5|
Blue Fire is available now for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Seen on a PC with i7-9700k, RTX 2070, 16gb RAM.
A copy of Blue Fire was provided by the publisher.
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