Know what we don’t see a lot of as of late? 3D platformers. True, there are still quite a few out there, like Crash 4 and some other indie darlings, but we’re talking about platformers that truly stoke a flame of originality. Not that they aren’t fun, but indie devs don’t take too many chances anymore on character, world-building, or, most importantly, bringing something new to the table. But then there’s Blue Fire.
Developed by the team at Robi Studios and published by Graffiti Games, Blue Fire is a dark, decadent 3D platformer that does something neat for the genre – it creates a dark, harrowing world and yet gives you so much to do in it with a little character and a pair of swords. It dares to stand out in the pack, and as a result, truly pays off for the player. There isn’t a platformer like it on the market, and that makes it a must-have addition to your game library.
The world of Penumbra stands on the brink of darkness, and as an up-and-coming hero, you’re tasked with exploring this world in an effort to discover its secrets – or more importantly, why it’s wallowed in the dark. You’ll take on a number of adversaries along the way, acquire new items to lend you a hand (like a useful dashing technique that’s good for both dodging attacks and reaching platforms just outside of range), and coming across a number of collectibles, which you can trade away or collect however you see fit.
Blue Fire evolves as the experience goes on. You start out with basic abilities but come across helpful upgrades that truly add to your fighting techniques. You’ll also find secondary challenge levels, akin to Immortals Fenyx Rising, where you can bump up your health and pick up other goodies. Be careful, though – the first rooms are fairly easy, but it won’t be long before your platforming skills are put to the test with ridiculously designed labyrinths and challenging multi-level areas.
The upgrades are excellent, particularly with your swords, as you can truly become a powerhouse over time. There are also a variety of amulets that can help out your mysterious character, as well as other abilities. They make the quest all the more meaningful. Also, it’s a big quest that will take several hours to get through – and even then, there are the more difficult challenge rooms you’ll come across.
This game handles beautifully, with solid controls that really make you feel like a warrior. Clearly, Robi Studios studied from the school of Zelda, as it feels like a traditional platformer through and through instead of something merely slapped together. And its challenge is just right – the game does get hard, but it doesn’t overwhelm you, so you learn to get better as you go along.
Not to mention the sheer beauty of the game. Blue Fire looks wondrous on the Xbox Series X, with a speedy frame rate, stunning environments, and some well-designed stages to challenge your platforming mettle. The animations are cute too, though some enemies could use a slight bit more detail. No matter – the world as a whole here is something else, and you’re sure to like it.
In-game music suffices, too. It may not be the greatest of soundtracks when it comes to true involvement, but it’s moody and atmospheric, just like the world the game is set in. It’ll suit you just fine.
Platformers like this aren’t as common as you’d hope they’d be, so when something like Blue Fire comes along, it’s definitely worth embracing. Some may haggle over the game’s difficulty or some of the enemy designs, but as a whole, Robi Studios has crafted something special here. Here’s hoping other indie devs pick up on the idea and try their hands at the genre as well. The more platformers that can shake up the landscape, the better.
A review code was provided by the publisher. Thanks, guys!
Streamer and Cosplay Enthusiast