Presented several times during Nintendo Indie World, Blue Fire is an action-adventure game with platform, and above all, a big ladle of Zelda inspiration. So much so that some qualify the title as a mix between the famous universe and two other kings of their domain: Celeste and Hollow Knight. But more than bridging the gap between several top JV players, the Argentinian game from Robi Studios manages to offer a unique experience. And it’s worth a look.
From the foreground of Blue Fire, it’s hard to rule out the resemblance to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We see a castle floating in the sky, with a dark horizon that stretches as far as the eye can see. The kingdom has been plunged into darkness since powerful evil spells settled within it. Your little character is thus awake to restore order in all this, freeing gods and slaying several demons.. You will therefore set out in this vast castle, which will serve as the setting for the whole adventure. A building that is also damn well equipped, since it contains its share of varied areas, such as a cemetery plunged under snow, a leafy village or lakes of molten lava.
A point on the Switch version:
As part of this test, we were only able to try our hand at the Switch version of Blue Fire. And it contains small flaws that we must point out. To start with some slowdowns in nomadic mode which however never interfere with the gameplay, and can occur in overcrowded areas, especially at height. Everything is nevertheless regulated in docked mode, where the game is more fluid. Above all, we met three crashes during our game, including one when our console was asleep. Obviously, the developers are busy fixing all of this, and it’s a safe bet that Blue Fire will be even more stable in the weeks to come.
Did you say Breath of the Wild? To rule out other similarities with the last Zelda, note that Blue Fire sports a very colorful cel shading, enhanced by some pretty light effects. Even at the level of the overall artistic direction, the title of Robi Studios is reminiscent of the cult Nintendo opus, which is not bad in itself.. The whole works well and the team from Argentina still puts its mark on it, despite some rather poor designs. Above all, the game resumes during its first hours the very particular structure of Zelda dungeons, with in particular an ability to recover to reach the boss. All this will also allow you to discover secrets by re-exploring the areas already visited.
Platformer in shape
Speaking of abilities, you’ll start Blue Fire with a simple jump and dash, to which additional powers will be added as you progress. We find a double jump, a circular attack to gain altitude and gauntlets to run / descend gently on the walls. A good part of the game’s level design is thus based on the evolution of your character, which will naturally guide you in a certain direction, or make you notice a ledge which is currently out of reach.
Blue Fire: Small Platform Phase in The Void (Gameplay)
Robi Studios therefore offers a lot of possibilities to move around, and that’s good, because the road that leads to the different dungeons (and especially the latter) is full of platform phases. But the title adds an element that hits the mark: The Void, a dimension entirely dedicated to the platformer, whose portals can be on the side of your road. This parallel world is an opportunity for developers to show more fantasy. Depending on the difficulty of the challenge (indicated upstream), you will find yourself facing flying blocks or circular saws. And the icing on the cake: to validate everything, you have to collect thirty orbs, and each misstep will bring you back to square one.
Important note: nothing requires you to complete these levels, even if their reward (an extra heart on your life bar) is worth the effort. It will sometimes be more judicious not to persist on a challenge just to come back to it later with a cool head. Anyway, The Void takes advantage of Blue Fire’s very good movement system, which is precise, dynamic and demanding. (although some inaccuracies occur from time to time, especially when it comes to running / bouncing off a wall). To give you an idea of the thing, the jump and the dash will be more or less high or long depending on how long you hold the key down. The Void adds spice, variety and quite a bit of lifespan to your adventure.
A bit of requirement
It will therefore take patience and skill to see the end of some of these challenges. But the requirement of Blue Fire is also found in the fights, which in this sense brings him closer to a certain Hollow Knight. The clashes of the title indeed require to be attentive, with a bar of life which can go down very very quickly.. To defend yourself, you will soon recover a ranged attack as well as a shield, both powered by magic, a resource that recharges by hitting an enemy or returning to one of the statues acting as a checkpoint. Note also that the clashes of Blue Fire offer great feedback, even if they can quickly become a mess when it is necessary to use the dash.
One thing is certain: Robi Studios will quickly pass you the urge to succumb to enemy assaults. Because in the title, dying means risking losing a precious resource and having to go and recover it from your remains. This resource is minerals, items that are easily obtained by breaking pots or selling your treasures accumulated in the various dungeons. But having them in abundance is vital, as they are the ones that enable spawn statues to be activated and purchase upgrades / new weapons.
Minerals sometimes undermine morale:
If Blue Fire’s checkpoint system can create interesting situations, especially when you have to get your hands on your loot to activate one of the statues, small details weigh down the whole. The sum to activate the stelae quickly becomes very high, and it will sometimes be necessary to farm the pots to have enough minerals at a given moment, or to retrace your steps and sell the good resources to then feed the whole. Gymnastics that you will often have to do, just to gain time to return to a demanding area, and which could have been resolved by dispersing merchants over the levels. Note that for the dungeons, a Game Over takes you directly to the entrance. And that a fall is not synonymous with the end of the game: for that you have to lose your whole life.
Blue Fire: We explore an area covered with lava (Gameplay)
Coating that works
There are finally a few other points that manage to elevate Blue Fire beyond the simple marriage between several cult games. Starting with its rhythm: the title of Robi Studios rarely gets lost in lengths, which offers a sustained and varied adventure, in addition to being rather long, around 10 hours without too much effort on the platform levels. The game regularly manages to push us forward, whether through obtaining key or secondary abilities (raise your life by hitting an enemy, no fall damage) which will be done via the spirits, to be found in rummaging through the levels or at the local merchant.
Thus, from small touches to small touches – with a plus of a good soundtrack, funny and clearly identifiable characters – Blue Fire manages to extricate itself from its influences to offer something of its own. While knowing that in addition to the powers and abilities already mentioned, there are different weapons to find, side quests, the possibility of increasing your mana. In short, a lot of things, but nothing that never seems to be too much.
- DA well inspired by Zelda that works
- A dynamic and demanding platformer
- Optional levels dedicated to the platform
- Powers that really change the game
- Not to be outdone with good feedback
- A good soundtrack and good writing
- Design sometimes a bit arbitrary
- Some unnecessary round trips
- Technical issues on Switch
By drawing inspirations to the right and to the left, Blue Fire manages to create a unique experience that is interesting for fans of exploration and platforms. It is in particular this last point that will remain in mind, the title having for it a dynamic and precise movement system, which is used throughout the adventure and especially in The Void, a parallel dimension integrated into the exploration. where the platformer aspect is taken to the extreme. This sometimes leads to very demanding challenges, but always with a reward: an extra heart on your life bar. Because yes, the fights of Blue Fire are also full-bodied, and it will be necessary to put all the chances on your side not to pass the weapon on the left, under penalty of losing useful resources for the progression. Well paced and written, served with a nice DA and soundtrack, the title forms a coherent whole which never does too much. To regret, however, some unnecessary back and forth and designs that sometimes lack personality, and also technical problems on Switch. But if you want to have a nice adventure with platform and challenge, that’s all good.
February 19, 2021 at 4:00:00 PM
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