Fire Tonight | Review | Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Reptoid Games
  • Publisher: Way Down Deep
  • Release Date: 12/08/2021
  • Price: £4.49 / $5.99
  • Review Code provided by Way Down Deep

Introducing: Fire Tonight Review

Fire Tonight is a story-driven light puzzler about a couple, Maya and Devin, who are separated by a citywide fire. It would be very easy for me to whip out the “Back In My Day” card on this one because it’s set in the ’90s, where Grunge was king, even as we hummed the soundtrack to The Lion King. This is something Fire Tonight leans hard into in both the sights and the sounds. As Maya makes her way across town, she has to navigate city street puzzles and avoid neon-colored fires all the while Devin is at home worrying about her safety. Highlighted by animated cut scenes, the journey to reunite these two is very short, but is it worth the ride?

Livin’ La Vida Loca

Maya and Devin start off the game chatting over the phone. These dialog scenes play out much in the same way a visual novel does, button-mashing your way through the conversation. They are suddenly cut off because of a fire right outside Maya’s building. Since no one had cell phones in the way back, there’s only one solution: Brave the fires and find a payphone. This starts Maya’s journey into the night and the puzzle-filled city. You control her movements around the level while also being able to spin the view, allowing you to solve various traversal challenges that come up. She’s easy to control and responsive when she needs to be. The things she can interact with are highlighted when she comes close, making most of the navigation and puzzles solvable with enough time put into them. By all means, take your time. There is no need to rush this one. There isn’t a lot here, so best to savor it!

This Is How We Do It

The story takes place across eight chapters comprised of four for Maya and four for Devin. The story switches places at the end of the level, usually because you solved the puzzle, or in Devin’s case, you clicked on all the things. This is the only real downer in an otherwise engaging and fun experience. Devin’s levels amounted to using a cursor to look around the apartment for interactive objects and then read his thoughts on them. The only real puzzle is deciding what might let you click on it to let you get back to Maya’s far more engaging levels. On the flip side, Maya’s levels present a variety of challenges, from making your way across a 3D cityscape to speed skating down the freeway. Each one introduced a different mechanic, keeping things fresh even with such a short playtime. The biggest fault of the game is that I didn’t get more of her. Once the skates and Walkman were introduced, I could easily see a much larger game using the same mechanics, and I really wanted to play that game! But, by the time you get used to them, they are done and you’re moving on.

Nothing Compares 2 U

The art really takes center stage in a lot of this game. The minimalist approach to the levels paired with the hand-drawn cut scenes really does give the feeling of playing a cartoon. Like everything about the title, the thematic ’90s approach is seen in little touches like Maya’s flannel wrapped around her waist and the band posters in Devin’s room. Likewise, the music loves to play with the sounds of a decade not quite ready to give up on synth-pop. One of the better musical touches is when Devin listens to the various mixtapes Maya has left him. They are all “Mood Mixes” and they all sound different and evoke the various genre styles as you play them in-game.

U Can’t Touch This

What is on offer here shows a lot of creativity and a heavy dose of humor, even if some of it was groan-inducing. Every newspaper box you find has different witty headlines that are well written and enjoyable, even when not all of the jokes land. None of the puzzles were particularly hard, you just have to give yourself time. The only level that gave me any trouble at all had more to do with the fact that I could not tell what was a walkway and what was not in that final level. But again, with time, I figured it out and completed the game, even then I found myself wishing there were just more of it. A first-time playthrough taken at a leisurely pace will last you less than an hour and a half. However, for casual gamers, non-gamers, or kids, this may be a great game to get them used to the controls, introduce them to gaming, or just kill 90 minutes.

Pros

  • Great sense of style and music
  • Maya’s levels are engaging
  • Likewise the variety of her levels keep you on your toes

Cons

  • Everything about Devin and his levels
  • That final puzzle

A really sweet game with a great sense of style that desperately needs to be longer.

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