If someone told me they wanted to make a cartoony, firefighting-themed roguelite with a jazz soundtrack, I’d probably think they’re a bit crazy. The small development studio, Laughing Jackal, managed to take these concepts and put them together in a wonderful game called Flame Over.
The premise of the game is rather simple. You play as the appropriately-named firefighter, Blaze Carruthers, and run around various buildings trying to put out fires. Needless to say, the main goal is to extinguish all of the fires in the building.
There are a few different ways that you can try to tackle a fire. The most common way is by using your hose. The hose slowly puts out fires and can soak the environment to prevent the fires from spreading. You also have a fire extinguisher that puts out fires faster than the hose. The downside to the extinguisher is that it doesn't prevent fire from spreading. Flames tend to spit out large fireballs, so a fire can spread fast if you aren’t actively trying to hose it down. Finally, there are water bombs which are a very limited resource that act like a water grenade. They are especially useful when trying to clear our large rooms of fire.
While the equipment may seem simple enough to use, it can actually be very challenging. If you are not careful, you can easily find yourself exposed to too much of the fire. Long time exposure can result in the loss of a heart. It is also important to keep an eye on your water and extinguisher levels. If you are not careful enough, you can run out of water in the midst of an inferno. If this happens, you need to run around to find the nearest source of water or extinguisher to refill.
In addition to fighting fires, it is also your responsibility to rescue cats and civilians. Every cat you save will give you an extra heart. Meanwhile, every person you save will give you an extra minute on the clock. Once you run out of hearts, the game immediately ends and you have to start from the beginning again. If you run out of time, you will be chased by the grim reaper. If he catches you before you get yourself extra time, the game will end.
Since the game is a rouge-lite, there are various items and upgrades you can obtain within the game. One of the easiest ways to gain items is to buy them via coins and tokens. Coins are gained by putting out fire. Tokens are a lot harder to obtain since you need to complete missions, such as finding a lost purse or classified documents, for Miss Ion.
Blaze putting out fires while rescuing a civilian.
Before the start of each run, you are presented with an upgrade shop. Money can be used to improve various upgrades, while tokens can be used to unlock them. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell what a upgrade does before unlocking it. While this sort of thing can add a challenge and sense of exploration, I found it to be more annoying than anything. The main reason being there are only a small amount of upgrades and getting tokens is a bit of a grindy task. Regardless, most of the upgrades, such as increasing the chances of finding items, greatly increase how well you do each run.
In addition to persistent upgrades, there are also temporary items that you can obtain during a playthrough. The most common way to obtain said items is by searching through office furniture. It is also possible to buy them from a in-game shop on the second floor, but there is no guarantee what items will be available. Once you have these items, they greatly increase your ability to survive and get further in the game. Some item examples are speed boots, heat goggles, and defibrillators. Much like upgrades, there is no way to know what an item does before you try it out. Luckily, I find this sort of secrecy to work much better with items considering the sheer amount of them.
Overall, Flame Over is a game I highly recommend. The persistent progression gives you a reason to keep playing, and the procedurally generated maps make each playthrough seem fresh. The cartoonish graphics and background jazz music also gives the game a very joyous vibe. Flame Over is currently available on PC for $11.99 USD, PS Vita for $9.99 USD, and is coming soon to PlayStation 4.
Official Flame Over Website: http://flameovergame.com/