Burn, Don’t Slash: Wildfire

I often have the secret, secret urge to use fire to punish my enemies and destroy the unworthy. Please don’t tell anyone. Happily, I’ve backed a game on Kickstarter that lets me indulge my urges without becoming inventory in one of America’s many corporate prisons.

Wildfire is a stealth platformer where you have the power to grab fire from existing sources and throw it. Unlike most games where you hurl fire through the air, you can’t set people alight and watch them slowly cook and crackle to death. You can only light the environment, such as the tall brush and bridges. Using this as distraction, visual cover, and a source of terror for those poor souls who didn’t sign up for the fire-controlling electives at school (foolish, really, but art’s an easy A), you navigate levels full of enemies looking to murder you for some reason.

wildfire-throw

Lesson One: Never stand in dry brush.

The game’s in a playable alpha state right now, which you can get off the site. Backers will get monthly alpha updates, and the game’s estimated full release is March ’16, which my experience suggests translates to June ’17.

It’s fun, simply fun, to evade soldiers by hiding in the grass, to terrorize them with fire, and to douse their lights with water (which you can also control) to sneak past them in the dark. The decision of when to use fire and when to use pure stealth is also interesting: you can hide in the grasses, or you can set them on fire for cover from smoke or to scare off some soldiers. When there’s snow on the ground, if you bring fire too close, you’ll melt all your cover. It’s a good balancing act so far, even if it reigns in my instinct to burn them, burn them all.

wildfire-inferno

Lesson Two: Burn them, burn them all.

I played through using a controller, and then again using keyboard and mouse. The second worked much more easily for me, mostly because the button-press combination for calling and throwing fire was unintuitive on the gamepad. The mouse was smooth. The entire thing felt a little like Gunpoint, another 2D platform puzzler that used very similar mechanics. I’m looking forward to the final product.

You too can fulfill your urge to burn things. Check out the Wildfire Kickstarter page, and it’s also been greenlit on Steam.

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