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Fiery feels fragmentary

  • nhubi
  • 06/17/2014 08:02 AM
(The title alliteration will be made clear later).

This review is based on a demo, or incomplete version of the game. As such, opinions stated within this review are subject to change.

As our tale unfolds our hero Ralph, Shawn is pulled from a moment of ocean gazing by the sound of an explosion from his home town of Fiery as it is, well, put to the flame; truly unfortunate naming there. He manages to fight off a few ruffians, save his father and attempts to rescue the town’s treasure before being king-hit in a cowardly fashion and thrown into a dungeon/prison.

Pretty standard fare, though not badly executed, with no extraneous details. You, as Shawn, are thrown straight into the action, and are as invested as he is in finding out why your town was destroyed, your friends killed and at least one inhabitant abducted by masked brigands.

And I was having such a good morning.

The opening sequence intersperses the credit screen, and it doesn’t work too well. It’s simply too long. You’ve just been introduced to the characters, given some action and suddenly it’s a slow paced interspersing cut shots with a scene and credits. It breaks the flow. Through we do learn that there is going to be a bit of ego-play in this game as the two writers are Shawn and Marina, coincidentally the names of our hero and his healer friend.

The tile-set is standard with no customisation, but maps are serviceable, and common sense has prevailed, no huge empty maps, be they internal or external. However at certain sections the world map does fall prey to the invisible walls syndrome. If you don’t want the player to go somewhere, there has to be a visual clue as to why they cannot proceed in a direction. Open empty plains and grasslands offer no resistance to movement, so don’t place them at the edges of maps. Forests, mountains, cliffs, waterways and man-made structures will bar passage effectively and with a sense of continuity. Most of the time this technique is employed which makes those instances when it is not more jarring and out of place.

Grammatical errors are all over the place, which is fine if it’s a translated game but this one isn’t, so it comes across as lazy. The usual ones of mixing up you’re/your, their/ there/they’re, as well as to/too/two but also some odd ones like heroe’s rather than heroes. I can only suggest using a spell-checker for dialogue. It really does detract from the game.

His awake what?

Skill learning is an interesting mix, for Shawn he appear to learn darkness spells via levels as he is a Dark Knight, but he also learns elemental spells from the monsters he fights, not through a spell of mimic or something of that nature, just as a matter of course. I found it very odd after my first encounter with fire elementals that he learnt the skill fire, even though neither of my opponents cast it in the battle. In fact none of the fire elementals I ever fought cast any fire based magic at all.

Early on there is a cute little post battle graphical plus, your enemies don’t disappear from the map after battle, they change colour to indicate they’ve been defeated. You can’t fight them again, but you do get an odd sense of achievement looking at all those pale blue fire elementals running around when they used to be crimson with power. I’m not sure why this graphical novelty wasn’t carried through in the rest of the game.

The first dungeon you face is a mix of light puzzle, dungeon crawl, and dodge the enemy. So you get a good feel for the dynamic early on and have to employ a wide range of skills to escape. It’s also sensible in a narrative sense. You’ve been thrown into prison and you need to get out. The prison just happens to be the in the lowest floor of an old training ground for the kingdom, so you are fighting your way through an elite soldiers obstacle course and creature hunt to get to the surface.

Once you make it out of the prison and are given a somewhat sadistic but plausible reason for your incarceration you make your way to the capital of Fury, also called Fury via the town of Facture and your first of many side-quests. Are you noticing a pattern in the nomenclature? All the towns and villages in Fury begin with an F, Fiery, Fury, Facture, Frinder etc and all the towns in the neighbouring kingdom of Ratchett begin, predictably, with an R, it’s an odd choice, but at least it does make knowing what side of the border you are on much easier.

Save is restricted, which is never a plus with me, but there are save crystals that also double as heal points interspersed fairly regularly, so you don’t lose a great deal if you get a game-over, which can happen quite a bit in the early parts of the game before you recruit additional companions from amongst the other prisons trying their luck via the hazardous upper levels. However there is a small game-play flaw in the crystals, if you choose to heal and save the crystals become defunct after one use, if you only save you can continue to use them, but that is not made clear in the menu options when you access the crystal. Restricting the heal capability so as to prevent it being used as a grind point is a perfectly reasonable game mechanic, but the menu options and ability need to be amended to indicate that heal is a one time option, save is re-usable.

Monsters are visible with line-of-sight chase sequence included and drops are abundant, so much so I rarely needed to buy healing items, though mana replenishing potions were always needed. Battle system is standard turn-based front-view with the inclusion of a damage meter that retains between combat. Once it reaches 100% you can use a special move, high damage in the case of the tanks, healing and defence for the support characters.

Music is custom, and the developer has pointed to the RMN Music Pack as his source. The tracks are chosen with some thought, not all of them mesh completely, the theme for the item store stands out in that regard ,but none of them jar enough to be an impediment, so over all a reasonable effort has been placed in the melodic side of the experience.

Menu interface is also custom, and it works well, no extraneous gimmickry just a clean and elegant look that gets the job done. This makes some of the other graphical choices a little perplexing, as care and choice has obviously been expended in some areas, and simply forgotten in others.

Sure, I just wanted to know why your face-set doesn’t match your character sprite.

Pet peeve, sell only shops. I really dislike them and can see very little reason for their inclusion, especially when they are the weapon/armour forge. It’s useless to be carrying around 3 extra swords, helms and breastplates simply because you can’t sell them at a place that is specifically designed to melt down metals and re-forge them.

Another pet peeve, buffs should have a 100% succeed rate. De-buffs you cast on the enemy may and should miss occasionally but the positive elements you cast on your own party should never miss.

World map exploration is mandatory as the world is quite large and if you wander off the roads there is almost no direction as to where anything is, so you have to wander the world to find where you need to go next. However there is a plus side in that there are some pretty good rewards hidden in random world map chests.

Wow, they didn’t even bother to bury it. Lazy Pirates.

Almost every NPC has something to say, most of it is just idle banter and isn’t useful but it does aid in fleshing out the world, The humour in the game is a little hit and miss, some of it is juvenile but some is genuinely funny, though as always humour is subjective, so it may be funnier to some than it is to others.

There is a plethora of puzzles in the game, though they do seem to be mostly based in the quest section of the game which only becomes available once the main story has been explored, (n.b. this game really needs a quest log/journal).The multi-level jump maze/puzzle for entrance into the Chronic Adventures Guild is a bit of fun and requires a little planning to both complete and get the additional items. But when you get to the first quest from the guild and you run into this.

Switch, button and boulder….really?

Which seems a bit like overkill.

One puzzle that is part of the main storyline is a choose your own adventure type that is actually more frustrating that entertaining, as there is very little logic to the choices offered and making a mistake leads to a game over and restart. It simply becomes a puzzle of attrition rather than deduction. Though I do appreciate the effort on the developer’s part to try to include different types of puzzle dynamics.

Fourth wall anyone? Also there ‘are’ errors.

Fiery is still an in-progress game, or at least the game page does not indicate hiatus or cancelled state so I have to assume it will be finished at some point. It does have points in its favour and some genuinely promising ideas. The story isn’t new but it is told with clarity, there are logical story progression points and characterisation, as well as some interesting and innovative puzzle dynamics, but it is let down by some sloppy interfaces, less than stellar grammar and the general air of incompleteness. I do hope that the developer comes back and finishes this story at some point, as it has the potential to be a good if not great game.


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Really loved the review. Thanks for taking the time to do this. It is really well done. I will take into account all the comments you have written. The game is still moving along. Even have plans for the sequel already written out.
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
I'm glad you could take this in the spirit in which it was meant. I do hope you continue as I would like to see the finished result.
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