Nindie Spotlight: Blue Fire - PreviewStephen LaGioia , posted on 04 August 2020 / 3,189 Views
Despite being a prominent genre in the late '90s and early 2000s, 3D platforming has seemingly hit something of a lull in recent years. Ironically, it's largely been 2D and retro-style platformers which have filled this void and have had something of a renaissance in the last decade plus. Yet, the 3-dimensional variety seems to be mounting a bit of a comeback itself. This is partly thanks to the success of Nintendo's epic Super Mario Odyssey, the revamped Crash Bandicoot trilogy, and efforts from various indies.
The indie scene in particular has brought some rich, innovative, and creative examples of late. Often, these games are rife with artistic flair and unique twists that allow them to stand out, with a game like Zoink's Fe serving as a prime example. Graffiti Games and Robi Studio's atmospheric platformer known as Blue Fire looks to provide a similar level of intrigue and wonder. It seeks to captivate with an array of gripping settings that are both rich and eerily vacant, taking place in the once-thriving world of Penumbra, which has descended into darkness and death.
The game was shown off at a Nintendo Switch Indie World Showcase in mid-March of 2020, serving as the enticing introduction to a slew of colorful games displayed. The announcement trailer showcases what appears to be quite the epic and majestic adventure, with gorgeous, lush environments, exciting battles, and intense platforming.
Based on the snippets of footage available, and impressions from those who have played its demo, Blue Fire seems to stress exploration and tough, precise platforming, along with a rich atmosphere and light puzzle solving. The visuals, while minimalistic in some areas, certainly impress with dynamic lighting and particle effects, detailed textures, and stylistic flair. Blue Fire stands out with what looks to be an array of vast, intricate dungeons, gaping caverns, and lavish wildernesses.
While the scope and sense of detail has a modern feel, the apparent emphasis on treacherous platform traversal definitely has a late-'90s vibe. Even from the brief bouts of footage shown, our hero is seen engaging in a number of tricky moves to get from place to place. These maneuvers range from wall-hopping and wall-running to dashing and flipping in mid-air, in order to clear massive gaps and dodge hazards.
The game certainly shines in terms of its sprawling landscapes and sleek presentation, giving it a cinematic quality that looks to be quite a spectacle. At the same time, the emphasis on obstacles and the precision involved in overcoming them indicates that Blue Fire won’t sacrifice on the gameplay front either. These traits seem to show that Robi is looking to make Blue Fire a tougher, more retro-style grind. The game’s description on Nintendo’s website definitely seems to fall in line with these attributes:
“Along your adventure, slash your way through daunting adversaries, roam across mysterious and abandoned regions, leap through deadly traps and ultimately master the art of movement.”
Combat looks to be accessible, but also exciting, with footage showing a Link-esque swordsman hacking and slashing large, shadowy foes that wield glowing sabers. Players will seemingly have to manage their health bar as well as a stamina bar when slicing and dicing in battle. Various combos as well as dashes and spin moves should also play a role in slaying the ominous baddies more efficiently. Still, with a relative lack of enemies shown thus far, the focus seems to be on traversing the tricky terrain itself, as well as nabbing a slew of collectibles.
Blue Fire seemingly has some light RPG elements too, with various quests, and an array of collectibles and items that can be bought, sold, and traded. Your hero's sword can also be enhanced, and new abilities will be unlocked throughout the expansive journey.
With the game's focus on swordplay and dark environments - including a lost land called The Void - Blue Fire seems to draw from Zelda titles as well as Team Cherry's Hollow Knight. The game certainly looks to emphasize a shadowy, somber atmosphere and worldbuilding that blends high fantasy with an almost Gothic sensibility.
Blue Fire should no doubt satisfy the taste buds of many Switch gamers looking for more interesting platforming realms to explore outside of the Mushroom Kingdom. It should also make for a nice stop-gap while awaiting the anticipated and similarly dark Breath of the Wild 2.
Gamers can look forward to embarking on this journey through Penumbra and The Void when Blue Fire leaps onto consoles and PC in the first quarter of 2021.