Fire Fu (iOS Review)
All 4 (yes, that All 4. You know, the one that lets you watch reruns of Father Ted whenever you want to remember what good comedy actually looks like) may not be the first thing that comes to mind when talking about indie game publishers. A quick browse of the All 4 library on the App Store will show pretty much what you’d expect, like interactive apps that any media company in touch with the modern age would provide, or pretty inane tie-in games for the likes of Made in Chelsea or Hollyoaks. What you may not expect is a fairly addictive pick-up-and-play game designed by a small, dedicated indie development team. Yet here we have Fire Fu, a beautifully silly martial arts inspired project from RetroFist, and precisely the kind of game touchscreen smartphones were designed for. It may not be one of the Top Incremental Games for Android, but it is worth checking out in its own right.
When first booting up RetroFist’s take on the mobile arcade genre, Fire Fu quite confidently takes the players through the hallmarks of its gameplay; drawing lines across the screen creates trails of flame that burn out after a small delay, and it is the player’s job to use this finite resource to incinerate as many of the various critters that pass across the screen as possible within the time limit. Each different target gives a set amount of points, and the obvious goal is to ascend the ranks on the leaderboard to become the ultimate Fire Fu master! And if this sounds a little familiar don’t be disheartened, because this is no Fruit Ninja clone. Once this guiding process is over, the carnage begins, and subsequent run-throughs become a firebending frenzy. Pretty much anything you see is a target, and you’ll see a lot as the screen becomes overrun with mutant sheep, over-fed spiders, flying furry piranhas, and other weird and wonderful looking creatures. Shiny fairies provide multipliers or add time, bombs will incur penalties, and everything will get lost in the satisfying maelstrom of fiery finger-swiping that you’ll really not pay much attention to what you’re actually burning to a crisp. To break up the potential monotony, bonus stages let you amass points that can be spent on different power-ups to be used or boss creatures to be turned to charcoal, but they do little to slow down the pace of the game and really just serve to clutter up the screen more.
All this clutter is a shame, really, as the visuals are gorgeous. Everything in Fire Fu is drawn in a cartoonish ‘ugly-chic’ style that fans of the most recent Rayman titles will especially like, and the warm colours are very fitting with the theme, colours that could be described as calming if not for the fast-paced nature of the Fire Fu. Perhaps playing on a larger screen such as a tablet or iPad might better capture the charming art-style, but given Fire Fu lends itself to quick, casual gameplay most mobile gamers won’t really get to appreciate it. Audio stands out much less, but still efficiently invokes the kung fu inspiration. All that said, however, Fire Fu really does fit incredibly well as a smartphone title.
It’s not unprecedented for All 4 to do this kind of thing, of course. The company has been a shining paragon for supporting small artistic projects since inception, and it’s really nice to see that it continues to do so for video games. The team at RetroFist very clearly put a lot of heart in to Fire Fu, and it shows in the overall fun experience of the game, making it well worth the purchase for anyone looking for a quick and satisfying passion project to burn a couple of minutes of spare time.
Warcraft was reviewed by Ruri Mac, AKA @Ruruccio on behalf of the site as a guest review. If you think you can beat his score, or just want to see what he looks like unfiltered, give him a follow!