By Nathan Grayson on December 3rd, 2013 at 4:00 pm.
Fire is an incredibly powerful natural force, so unsurprisingly we’re the ones dishing it out in most games. Much like some nigh-unstoppable disco inferno, we tell all that stands in our way to burn, baby, burn, utterly unconcerned by potential consequences. In some ways, then, Fire Point is a sort of karmatic wake-up call. Basically, a bunch of awful, irresponsible idiots accidentally (and sometimes purposefully) set their stuff on fire, and it’s your job as a fireman to save the day. Of course, these dim bulbs tend to head for obscure corners and flame-engulfed ledges, so you have to puzzle out how exactly to reach them using various tools of the trade. It’s an interesting, though flawed take on a subject gaming rarely touches for fear of getting burned.
That’s not to say there’s controversy underlying a career in virtual firefighting, but it rarely springs to mind when the subject of game heroes comes up. We’re all about commandos, collisions, and killsplosions. Stopping the collapse of a burning building? Please. We want a wrecking ball to help us reduce it to dust and ash even faster.
Fire Point, however, opts to fight fire with, well, anything other than fire. You’ve got a truck equipped with tools like a hose and a ladder, and you can also use bits of the environment, like fire extinguishers, to your advantage. Your goal is to save as many people (and cats) as possible from increasingly precarious situations while fires grow and grow all around. Has some loudmouth Internet jerk’s flame war become all too literal? Then, loathsome though it may sometimes be, his life is in your hands. You must plot an – above all else – efficient course through each searing labyrinth or risk losing more lives than you save.
In my experience, puzzle difficulty largely ramped up at a sensible rate, though certain levels required crucial mechanics before they were properly explained in later, less frustrating levels. That was a bit strange. Also, brace yourself for some awkward controls (why is it so consistently difficult to walk up stairs?) and occasionally infuriating AI. Neither of those things were deal-breakers for me, but with time ticking down and flames sashaying dangerously, seductively closer, it became all the more frustrating when the game was responsible for a mistake I’d taken all possible steps to avoid.
Fire Point’s core idea is a good one, though, and it’s even fairly clever in spots. The game has its ups and downs, but the experience is still one worth having. Turn up your heater (for maximum immersion) and have a go at it through here.