by July 15, 2022 @ 2:00 pm
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
You’re likely to have a very good time with Firegirl: Hack ‘n Splash Rescue DX. The game takes a little while to get going — about an hour or two for things to really heat up (weak pun intended) — but when it starts firing on all cylinders, it’s an addictive, oddly mesmerizing arcade action game.
Fighting Fires and Fire Monsters
You play as the titular Firegirl, who’s following in her late father’s footsteps. Fires ravage the city, but these aren’t your average fires. No, these are fire monsters, and they’re everywhere! This adds a fun little fantasy twist to the game, and there’s actually quite a bit of back story to the happenings you’ll experience. It all ranges from the demon-like behemoth, Firelord, to a conspiracy that involves even the town’s own mayor.
By the time I reached the end of Firegirl, I witnessed some pretty interesting twists and turns that involved our protagonist, the fire department’s captain (who’s also Firegirl’s dad’s old partner), and even the FBI. I didn’t think I would get too into the story when the seeds were planted for what would become a larger plot, but by the end of it, I needed to see the whole thing through, and it was actually pretty cool.
Like the story, the gameplay of Firegirl: Hack ‘n Splash Rescue DX takes a little time to really get going. The game follows some roguelite design choices. You’ll earn money from successfully completing missions, which involve saving a certain number of survivors in each stage. You’ll use cash to purchase upgrades such as larger water tanks so you won’t run out of the precious water you use while putting out fires left and right. You can also allocate your earned money to gain larger fan followings, which in turn means bigger donations for more upgrades.
When Firegirl is fun, it’s super fun. That said, if you’re not able to get past that initial hump — which is, admittedly, a bit of a slog, even if it is a brief slog — you won’t unearth the fun firefighting platformer that’s tucked away. After those initial couple hours, you’ll find yourself wanting to go through the game’s apartment, forest, train, and plaza levels over and over again.
Speaking of which, because the levels are procedurally generated, they can be really awesome or they can be underwhelming. Not every layout will hit that sweet spot, but when the pieces come together nicely, the levels are exciting to explore.
A Charming Little Game
Firegirl: Hack ‘n Splash Rescue DX combines pixel art with 2.5D graphics. It’s a combination that works well as it’s used quite stylishly. Seeing the pixelated characters set before the 3D backdrops and foregrounds works really well.
The music is catchy despite not being all that amazing. There are faux disco tunes and quasi-cinematic themes that are meant to get you into the firefighting action. They’re not terrible, but they’re just sort of there, playing on in the background.
While Firegirl is a good deal of fun, it can be jarring when technical issues kick in. The game stutters from time to time, especially if a dialogue box pops up on the screen. It won’t necessarily ruin the game, but it’s weird and interrupts the flow of the action. There was also an odd glitch I encountered in the larger forest stage where the camera would zoom out a ridiculous amount and then flip the screen. It happened a few times, and it was bizarre to say the least.
It’s definitely not perfect, and I don’t know that I have a hankering to return to it after having seen the story through, but even then, Firegirl: Hack ‘n Splash Rescue DX is a whole lot of fun. I enjoyed my time with it. I never felt like I wasted my time playing the game during its five-hour duration, and when all was said and done, I was glad to have played it through to the end. If you want an arcade-y roguelite that’s a little different in terms of its gameplay objectives, Firegirl is a pretty good option.
Score: 7 out of 10
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