Flame Over takes place in a fire stricken London. Thankfully firefighter Blaze Carruthers is on the case. If Pixar made a short cartoon on this concept, Flame Over would be it. The look, style, and even the music permit an air of whimsy. Unfortunately it’s just a whacky concept is all it is and doesn’t go beyond that. Sure Death killing Blaze when time runs out is funny, but it could have pushed the boundaries further especially in what little dialogue there is.
Thankfully the gameplay makes up for these shortcomings. It’s a Roguelike, encompassing four areas with multiple levels. Each map randomly generates between play sessions. In five minutes players must destroy the flames, with water and an extinguisher, all while rescuing as many lives as possible. Humans extend time while cats grant life. VIPs dole out missions, such as retrieving a purse, in order to earn tokens.
Tokens unlock abilities that can be upgraded via money. For example, they can lower prices, or extend fire resistance. Money can also be used to buy random objects in the field such as more water bombs, or time. Once all flames are out, players move on to the next area. Time and health are not recovered in the next stage. Now he’s where things start getting problematic.
Just like any Roguelike, players will have both good, and bad runs. The problem is there’s little sense of progression. Players can grind through the same area, which is an office, maybe forever depending on random luck. Unlocking new abilities will help people get through things easier, but it’s a grind. Now some may argue that’s the rewarding nature of a Roguelike. True, but the bar is set too high right from the get go, Because of this, the repetition turns exceedingly hectic.
Flame Over is a great spin on the Roguelike genre. It promotes a sense of crazy adventure, but doesn’t go full blast with it. It’s hard to get into past a few hours, but give it time, albeit lots, and it’s well worth a place on one’s PS Vita collection.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: The publisher provided a review code for the game. This article was originally published on March 10, 2015 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.