There's always an indie game that, at first, looks like yet another try at copying something that worked for someone else but later happens to be a great game of its own. That's the case with Blue Fire, a 3D platforming title that looks like a Breath of the Wild meets a dark, punishing yet fair platformer, and many of you probably overlooked it for that very same reason. But we're happy to say that Blue Fire is a fun game that excels at what it does, from the challenging gameplay to the pleasantly obscure art style.
Platforming and a Lot of Collectible Power-Ups
In Blue Fire, you control a tiny masked swordsman who must make his way through the world of Penumbra. You awake in a mysterious floating castle and from there, you must follow your instincts since there are no immediate clues as to why you are there or what's your main goal. All you know is that you must avoid touching this lava-like substance that's all over the place—similar to Breath of the Wild's Malice—and that jumping, dashing and slashing will be of great help given your situation.
One thing we love about Blue Fire is how responsive the controls are. It doesn't matter if you're jumping or dashing mid-air, you feel in control of your character at all times, making all platforming sections not only more enjoyable but also fairer than in other 3D platformers. This also helps when you're parrying or avoiding incoming enemy attacks, but also when you're making use of your trusty swords. For some reason, it's not every day that you can find such good controls in this genre, so that's something we definitely wanted to stress out.
Another thing that really feels the gameplay is character development and skills. In Blue Fire, you can find and buy new tunics to change how you look, but also new blades that will grant you more power. As if new tunics and swords were not enough, you can also collect spirits that will give you very useful skills, like removing fall damage or healing yourself every time you attack.
Parkour Sessions at The Void
Blue Fire's minimalist art style is an excellent choice because while it still looks really good, it doesn't distract you from what's important. Also, it makes great use of this dark tone and mystical references. Not everyone will be a fan of the predominant color palette, though. Dark colors still are a rare choice for 3D platforming games as most of them go the colorful route, probably because of Nintendo, but Blue Fire will present you with several areas to discover, from green forest areas to lava pits. Regardless of how these areas' appearance, the level design is on point and you really find pleasure in exploring every corner thanks to your parkour abilities.
Speaking of your parkour abilities, you better take your time to master the controls, as this is a must when visiting The Void. These special stages—which you can access from special portals scattered around the world—are similar to the Time Rifts in A Hat in Time, in which you need to jump, dash and climb from point A to point B while collecting objects to clear the section with a perfect score. Although there's a quest associated with them, you can just ignore them and follow the story, or come back later after when you have more time to spare or better skills.
Not a Princess but an Evil Queen
While The Legend of Zelda features a beautiful, kind-hearted princess, Blue Fire has an evil Queen of Darkness, the game's antagonist and final boss. What Blue Fire could have done better is explaining the lore from the beginning instead of forcing you to roam the world of Penumbra in search of gods who can help you defeat the Queen and answers to the most obvious questions about yourself and everything around you. It's not like these characters you find won't give you some important pieces of information, but it's true that by the time you find them, you probably don't care that much and are more interested in continuing your journey.
All in all, we had a great time exploring every corner of the map, learning more about the gods, the floating castle, and the corruption. It might not be the most marketed game, but it certainly could be one of the best 3D platformers of the year!
Would you like to explore this sinister world? Blue Fire is already available on PC and Nintendo Switch, and will launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at a later date. If you enjoy games like The Legend of Zelda and Hollow Knight, this one's for you!