Blue Fire (is an absolute FIRE Zelda/Metroidvania/Dark Souls inspired experience)
|First Time Playing||Yup|
|Fun||9 / 10|
|Collecting Stuff||9 / 10|
|Jank||5 / 10|
Blue Fire is a 3D Metroidvania Platformer that combines Zelda, Dark Souls, and PS2 era/Super Mario 64-esque platforming into a pretty cohesive and really fun package. It definitely wears all of its influences front and center, where I felt instead of me thinking they were “copying” certain tropes/ideas from other games, I felt more like they were playing homage or tribute to everything they got inspired from.
Blue Fire starts you off in a giant castle with a sword, a dash, and thats it. As expected you unlock different abilities as you go like a wall run/jump, double jump, sprinting, double dashing, you get the idea. The game focuses a lot on exploration/finding collectables, to a point where I start comparing the game to more like a Mario game like SM64 or Super Mario Sunshine (more on that later). There are Zelda-like dungeons, but the game doesn’t really focus on those being the high points, and instead treats the whole world more as a hole. Think more Super Metroid than Zelda.
The Dark Souls influences come more around the castle design and difficulty. Truth be told I don’t think I ever died aside from the Final Boss (we’ll get to that), but it has a similar “go get your souls when you die” mechanic. The castle design is based around platforming challenges like wall running, double or triple jumping at JUST the right moment, and then sometimes unlocking a faster way/shortcut to complete it after doing it once.
They actually have a story-way of teaching how to get real good real fast or POW with Void levels. You know what lets talk about voids real quick.
Voids reminded me 100% of the areas in Super Mario Sunshine where they take F.L.U.D.D. away from you and you have to do really specific platforming to the end. Blue Fire doesn’t take any controls away (thank god) and it’s very forgiving, not even taking away health if you fall over, instead giving you checkpoints (but not always…). These areas give you a really easy and fun way to get used to doing some janky platforming, like when to double jump, doing things like dashing around a corner, or get used to the camera that doesn’t always follow you. Fun! You can also find secrets gems in chests that are off the main path for easy $$$.
Eventually as you progress, you get into some literal Super Meat Boy inspired levels with insta-restart saw blades like this:
But I actually really like this kind of challenge and it works really well with the moveset you start getting. There are DEFINITELY almost too-hard levels when you get into the DLC levels, with zero checkpoints…, but you can tell they are all designed well enough that they are not impossible by any means.
Do you remember times in early 3D games where you thought “oh I bet I could get there if I jumped JUST right…” and then you do it and you feel amazing about it? Blue Fire is FULL of those moments, and encourages you to exploit its own mechanics. One thing I actually love is how the game teases you by not giving you the double jump till maybe 60% through the game. You can technically acquire a SPIN jump before that, which you can charge while on ground and then jump and then spin to get some extra height, but you can only use it once before charging again and its not viable for fast platforming, more only for PLANNED platforming.
Sprits works exactly like Hollow Knight’s charms. You can collect a whole bunch, you can only equip X amount, you can buy or earn slots. You can of course cater certain ones to your own play style, but there’s some specific ones around movement that I’d say are almost REQUIRED to equip. I haven’t tried this, but I don’t think it would be possible to complete the game with ZERO badges equipped, or at the very least it probably wouldn’t be worth it.
Still, I don’t feel like they ‘missed’ any opportunities at all with these. You get your dash/run faster, your attack stronger, no fall damage, more money pickups, etc, but it all feels very cohesive and thought out. There’s only a couple of them where I thought “but why would I ever want that”, which is a great thing to me. That said, I don’t think I ever got into a situation where I didn’t have slots to have something I wanted to equip after the first half of the game. Eventually I had way more slots than needed and just filled them up with abilities I may or may not have forgotten about.
Other than spirits you can also find or buy different swords/weapons. I don’t know why you would ever go back to a lower tier weapon ever, which makes having them a bit pointless, but they do influence your dash/slash color to a lesser extent. You can also customize your Tunic color and a few of them are pretty out there, like the Infinity or Pure Shadow Tunic. The tunics are purely cosmetic and only exist for fun/completionist sake.
- The Void levels don’t reset things when you die. Falling platforms dont immediately reset when you die, so you could respawn, catch up to where you died last, and then fall because the game hasn’t respawned the platform yet. Why not just respawn back to the init state when you go back to checkpoint?
- The Hover Boot Spirit is broken, straight up. They work exactly like the Ocarina of Time Hover Boots most of the time (even has a similar hover color!), but there were way too many times where I respawned in a void, walked off an edge with the hover boots and they just didn’t activate. I was able to fix this by just jumping once on the ground which seemed to ‘reset’ the hover boots to their normal state, but that killed me way too many times just walking off an edge expecting them to hover when they should have.
- The kill planes in the void stages are way too low. Some of the voids you encounter are an exercise in climbing a LOT. That said, if you fall, it can take WAY TOO LONG to die to get to a checkpoint.
I would a hundred million percent totally recommend Blue Fire for any Zelda/Metroidvania/platformer fan. It’s very easy to get a handle of and it hooked me in to the gameplay within the first hour. Best of all it’s VERY cheap at around $20-30 regular price. It’s a MUST BUY if on sale.