Awakening inside of a laboratory tank and having to slash your way out of it, you soon find yourself inside of a floating castle overrun with corruption that will hurt you to the touch. Taking your two swords and moving out, you may be small and adorable but enemies be damned if you’re not powerful!
Blue Fire, by ROBI Studios and Graffiti Games, is an action adventure title that could suffer from labels as they wouldn’t really describe what someone is getting into. From the onset, shattering the glass that was holding you in the tank and seeing the state of the castle, there’s a very The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess meets Breath of the Wild vibe going on. But, play just through the first Temple / Dungeon, and Zelda is out the door for a more in-depth system with our protagonist now running across walls in a fashion that would make even the Prince in the Prince of Persia proud. And we aren’t even double jumping or air dashing yet!
It’s clear that there were multiple influences involved while designing Blue Fire including a Soulslike element whenever you die. Not having any experience points to lose as you don’t actually level up, you instead lose the ore that you had on hand which is used as this world’s currency. Not immediately evident as to its uses, but you’ll need ore to buy things from vendors, unlock new emotes from particular statues for secret chests and activate respawn points. It doesn’t seem like much at first as new emotes are really the first things to come about at two-hundred ore a piece, but everything else is damned expensive and that hard earned ore? You’ll want back!
As you don’t level up by defeating enemies and bosses, you’ll have to get tougher in one of three ways. The first of these is by completing challenges that require everything you’ve learned up to that point to complete. These challenges contain some rather intense parkour that even one wrong step while collecting thirty orbs will bring you back to the beginning. Once completed, you’ll get an entire new health point to help you survive. The second manner to get tougher is by finding weapons inside of chests both inside and out of dungeons. The third manner is to buy new skills and spirits to give you an edge such as moving faster, collecting more ore, etc.
From there, the adventure just keeps adding on more and more layers and as you move forward and you’ll need to keep track of all of these elements if you’re going to make it through. What I liked about this is that it wasn’t simply, oh, you learned this, you’ll only have to use it here. Instead, it’s more along the lines of oh, you learned this, now you need to figure out all of its potential uses alongside the rest of what you’ve learned as Blue Fire is a hell of a 3D Platforming Parkour Extravaganza that will test you time and time again in order to move forward.
The issue with it being a Platforming Parkour Extravaganza however is that it both works wondrously, and not quite so much at the same time. A lot of the elements work really well together as attacks have been kept standard enough allowing you to easily integrate them into other moves like dashing, air dashing towards your target or jumping from above for vertical slices. Running on a wall can easily be followed up with dashing outwards and hoping to catch and then climb the ledge. Where things may not jive so much is that it’s not overtly clear at first, but Blue Fire is designed to be “exact” which can unintentionally make it hard oftentimes requiring perfection in order to get through puzzles as there is little to no leeway if you fall just short of a ledge.
There are a few other items that may make things unintentionally harder such as how much damage you can take from sometimes the oddest of occurrences. Falling from a ledge could sometimes cost me over two containers from a small height but from higher ones it would cost me only one or one and a half. Enemies hit HARD which isn’t exactly a bad thing as it teaches you to either move out of the way or parry rather quickly, but not being able to modify the controller layout can be a bit of a pain on this as the parry and the dodging buttons don’t quite feel right in their placements. Over time you get used to it, but comparing it to others that do the same, the controls often feel off especially when you go through as many different titles as we do.