Review: Wildfire – A Thoroughly Enjoyable Slow-Burn Of A Game

I am the god of hellfire, and I bring you…

Sidestepping any potential controversy about whether or not they exist or if their persecution is merely an expression of historical misogyny, I think it’s a universal truth that if you’ve got a Witch, you need to be able to burn it. It’s an alarming development, then, that Wildfire begins with the failed immolation of such. Jokes aside, it’s an effective and surprisingly stark in media res prologue; a compelling sequence you’ll see in context later. Look, if it’s a good enough narrative device for The Outer Limits, it’s good enough for any video game.

Stealth games are a bit of a sticky wicket. Finding the middle ground between an experience organic enough to be immersive, but “gamey” enough to be fair is a bit of a balancing act. Traditionally, 2D takes on the genre have fared well in terms of raw gameplay but sacrifice edge-of-your-seat tension in favour of transparent, accessible mechanics. Wildfire is no exception. It’s a carefully designed, surprisingly adaptable take on side-scrolling stealth with a killer element manipulation twist – but not even once is it heart-in-mouth scary the way that the stealth genre can be at its most absorbing. It’s up to you if you want something that leans more unpredictable, or a game like Wildfire that feels much closer to the likes of Abe’s Oddysee (more so than its own remake did, but we digress) in presenting you with all the tools you need to succeed, avoiding any gotchas or obfuscating mechanics.

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