Everything cute must perish.
There haven’t been many prehistoric adeventures since the 16-bit age, but Daedalic Entertainment seeks to fix that with their cute but slightly violent puzzler Fire for the PC. In this simple tale, Ungh, a Neanderthal was charged with maintaining the fire for his tribe. Like the lazy oaf he is, he fell asleep, and the fire went out. Now, he has to retrieve more fire from a volcano since, after all, no one knows how to make fire yet.
Objects are very bright and colorful with a lot of character, and most of them are continuously animated, giving a lot of life to each scene. Sprites in this game remind me a lot of the recent Rayman games with their very stylized and cartoony appearances. This is not a platformer, though, and puzzles are solved by clicking on the many interactive elements on the screen at any given time.
One of Ungh’s first tasks was getting to a firefly hiding in a hut. Of course, completing this task is not as simple as that. Rather than a clear preconceived notion of how to solve a puzzle, players must experiment by clicking around and seeing how everything interacts with the environment much like The Room. And Ungh isn’t the only “character” to control. Your mouse cursor itself has different effects on the world around him. In one hut, a creature hiding under the floor would change its position when the cursor hovered over it, allowing Ungh to use it as a bridge. Later, brushing the cursor on a dirty cliff slowly rubbed the debris away to reveal another puzzle.
The general interactions are particularly kooky. Clicking on the sun turns it into a moon, inviting night to fall. Then, Ungh convinced a rain man to do his dance below a cloud that appeared in the newly dark sky. He was struck by lightning (it was effective!) and burnt to a crisp, allowing Ungh to take his staff and perform the dance himself to make rain.
Later, he convinces a turtle-like creature to carry a young sapling under a cloud. After beckoning the rain again, the sapling grows into a tree and smushes the life out of the creature. I was surprised but delighted by the amount of cartoon violence I witnessed in this short level.
When Fire is released, it promises more than 30 backgrounds to explore with Ungh and I’m sure the wacky humor just gets more and more ridiculous as you progress. I saw an elephant used as a cannon and a musical instrument, bouncing rocks with a sleep cycle, and an interactive constellation in the sky. Who knows what else is in store for this simple cave man?