Blue Fire Review
When it comes to innovative and landmark video game franchises, FromSoftware’s Dark Souls and Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda are hard to beat. Both franchises have helped create their own style of game within existing genres, with unique quirks and gameplay features that make something feel distinctly Soul or Zelda. Blue Fire from developer ROBI Studios takes inspiration from Dark Souls and The Legend of Zelda, with some 3D platforming thrown into the mix for good measure. Zelda meets Dark Souls is the best way to describe Blue Fire. The art style feels like something out of Zelda: The Wind Waker but mixed with the darker tones of a Dark Souls game. It features Zelda-style dungeons and progression, while also challenging enemy encounter spikes and death mechanics ripped from Dark Souls. The mix of Zelda and Dark Souls is surprisingly good, and while some Zelda fans may be turned off by the high difficulty, others will appreciate how Blue Fire does something different from Zelda. formula. Unfortunately, the game has a severe lack of polish that prevents it from reaching its full potential, and while there are glimpses of brilliance sprinkled throughout, most will go unnoticed. Both the Zelda and Dark Souls games are known for being high quality, highly polished work, but the same cannot be said for Blue Fire. Blue Fire suffers from long load times on the Nintendo Switch, and there are things about the game that make these load times even worse. For example, there are many cases where players will see a door that leads to a new area, but upon going through that door, discover that there is nothing they can do on the other side. This means sitting through a long load screen to go through the door, and then sitting through it again to return to the previous area. Blue Fire loading screens get in the way whenever players try to grind for orbs as well. Orbs in Blue Fire are the game’s main currency, equivalent to souls in Dark Souls, and players use them to purchase upgrades. Players can also collect ores that they can sell to merchants to get a large influx of orbs right away, but not all merchants buy ores. This means fast traveling to the merchant that buys the ores, sitting at a load screen, selling the ores, backtracking to the previous save point, fast traveling to the merchant that sells the desired item, and sitting on another load screen for you to do. It will make more sense for all traders to not only sell items, but also buy them. The fact that they don’t add any real challenge to the game – it just forces players to backtrack, sit through loading screens, and waste their time. The most pressing issue involving loading screens in Blue Fire is when trying to return to someone’s corpse to recover lost orbs. Occasionally, if a load screen separates our character from their corpse, the corpse is no longer there and the orbs are lost forever. This happens very rarely, but considering how important it is for this mechanic to work, it’s a pretty serious problem that it happens at all. Granted, there could be another explanation for why the corpse doesn’t appear properly, but the loading screen seems to be the common denominator, and regardless it’s an issue that potential players should be aware of. Evidence of Blue Fire’s lack of polish is also evident elsewhere in the game. There are many typos and misspellings that players will notice during their time with the game, and they will also have to contend with crashes. Occasionally, players will find themselves able to walk through locked gates without first completing the puzzle in the room, so sometimes these technical mishaps actually work to make the game easier. The game also sometimes struggles with frame rate issues in certain areas, with the Temple Gardens area having the most trouble maintaining a solid frame rate. Exploring Temple Gardens in Blue Fire is a pain because it slows the fast-paced game to a crawl, which can throw a wrench in how players time their blocks and strikes in combat and can also mess with the jumps. This is especially frustrating in a game that requires so much precision, but luckily these frame rate issues seem to only appear in specific areas. Mostly, Blue Fire will let players explore without having to worry about frame rate, giving them free rein to creatively make their way from point A to point B. The 3D platforming in Blue Fire is one of its best features, and while it demands near perfection from the player, mastering it is fun. It’s also exciting every time you find a new skill like wall-running or double jumping, because these new skills open up a new world of 3D platforming possibilities and will make players want to go back to previously completed areas to reach places they cannot reach. before. Players usually get these new abilities in Blue Fire dungeons, which are easily the best thing about the game. Dungeons are very Zelda-esque in their puzzles and exploration, with players often having to find keys that will unlock locked doors and in turn allow them to progress deeper into the dungeons. While the world leading up to each dungeon is chaotic and wide open, the dungeons are more focused and provide some more refined gameplay. It’s in the dungeons where Blue Fire’s platforming and combat really shines. Blue Fire dungeons are a blast and honestly, the game is hard to put down whenever players manage to tackle one. The only thing that disappoints them is the boss fights at the end. While Dark Souls is known for its bosses, Blue Fire barely tries to create anything unique or interesting for its boss encounters, with the first boss being a barely-moving plant sitting just in the middle of the room and spinning its vines. Another boss comes in the form of a fish whose attacks are easy to avoid and can be dealt with without much trouble. The bosses are unpredictable and very easy, which is in contrast to the otherwise brutal difficulty found elsewhere in the game. There’s no big reward when defeating bosses in Blue Fire, because players get the new ability earlier in the dungeon and they don’t get a boost to their maximum health. Defeating the boss usually means story progression and not much else. Instead, players are able to boost their health in Blue Fire by completing platforming challenge rooms called Voids, which, like dungeons, are more focused and exciting. They focus exclusively on platforming challenges and force players to think outside the box if they hope to overcome them. There are glimpses of brilliance in Blue Fire when completing Voids and progressing through dungeons, but it’s all overshadowed by technical issues and some disappointing design choices. Blue Fire lifts a lot from Dark Souls and Zelda, but it’s unlikely to appeal to diehard fans of either franchise. Blue Fire is out now for PC and Nintendo Switch. Today Technology reviewed the game on Switch.