Developer(s) – Laughing Jackal
Released last year to overwhelmingly positive critical response, Flame over is a shoot ‘em up Roguelike centring on fire fighting, playing out like a mixture between Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, Luigi’s Mansion and Rogue Legacy. Expecting a more simple and casual experience, I entered Frame Over with a somewhat lethargic mindset, only to be greeted by a wonderfully hectic and satisfyingly challenging experience that kept me on my toes and thinking on my feet.
Graphics – 7/10
The game’s visuals are somewhat dated, looking like it could easily be ran on a PlayStation 2, but due to it being an isometric top-down game, and since the settings and elements appear further away, they also appear in more detail that what they actually are up-close, which was a clever way of making a game that will have been made on a budget look as good as it possibly could have done. The conceptual design isn’t too bad either, since each of the four different kinds of stages stand out from one another in their own unique ways; some of which provides the basis of how each stage comes with it’s own set of challenges. To me, however the game’s soundtrack is the most prominent element of the game’s atmosphere; it’s definitely one of the most stellar soundtracks I’ve heard in an indie game so far.
Gameplay – 8/10
The object of the game is to travel from floor to floor of a business firm called Infernal Industries, and completely extinguish all first on each floor before the time runs out. Additional time and health are made available for rescuing workers and stray cats scattered across the building. Upgrades and additional power-ups are also available to buy and unlock throughout the course of each playthrough to more effectively combat fire, as well as increase things like speed and water capacity. The best thing about this game in my opinion is how challenging it is without it being completely inaccessible which is why it reminds me quite a lot of Rogue Legacy. But as well as it being challenging, it’s also insanely addictive, and kept fresh by the fact that each floor is randomly generated, so each playthrough provides a new challenge every time.
Controls – 10/10
The controls are also perfectly simple to get grips with too, and will present no unnecessary complications to players. Obstacles to slow players down are actually hidden quite subtly throughout in the form of tables and desks, which would also be very true to life, since the more obstruction there is in a building the more difficult it would be for firemen to move around and to evacuate people in the event of a fire. The game’s control scheme is also the main reason why it reminds me of Luigi’s Mansion, since both games seem to play out somewhat similarly.
Originality – 9/10
Not only does this game stand out greatly among the indie gaming community, but it also stands out within gaming in general to a phenomenal extent. Though there have been a few games released since the second generation to centre around the concept of fire fighting, such as towering Inferno for the Atari 2600 and Real Heroes: Firefighter for the Wii and DS, this game is definitely the most challenging and invigorating of it’s kind that I’ve ever had the enjoyment of playing through.
In summation, Frame Over is one of the best indie titles I’ve played since the indie community began to take greater prominence in the late 2000s. It’s fast-paced, challenging, addictive and unique; and comes highly from me.