Firework
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 9

Firework is a Chinese horror puzzle game with a strong focus on story. The game was already a hit in its home country, but a wider audience can now enjoy it thanks to its English translation. Unlike other horror titles, Firework delivers a creepy atmosphere, and compelling story without resorting to cheap jump scares or excessive gore. The unique setting and cultural elements also make for an engaging experience that we highly recommend.

Gameplay: Very linear, and the puzzles are straightforward, but the story is very compelling.

Graphics: Makes good use of color to deliver a creepy and unsettling experience.

Sound: Great soundtrack and plenty of sound effects

Summary 8.3 Outstanding
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Firework

Developer: Shiying Studio | Publisher: Gamera Game | Release Date: 2021 | Genre: Horror / Puzzle / Indie | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam

Rookie police officer Lin Lixun has a memorable start to his career when a mysterious fire breaks out at a funeral. Acting on a tip-off by an informant, Lin and his partner raced to the scene only to run into car troubles. While his partner tends to the vehicle, Lin begins his investigation but quickly discovers that the fire is just the tip of the iceberg. It would seem that the remote mountain village where the game takes place is hiding quite a few secrets, and Lin has got just the right skills to uncover them all.

Firework was initially released in Chinese only, but the overwhelming number of positive reviews ensured that English audiences were also eager to play the game. This wish was granted later in the year when after a few delays, English was added to the game. Although the game is steeped in pan-Asian culture and folklore, the story is engaging enough to keep players from other cultures hooked.

Playing as officer Lixun, players are drawn into a complex mystery that involves far stranger things than just a coffin bursting into flames. Thanks to his rare gift of being able to communicate with the dead, Lixun uncovers new evidence for a previously closed case. Tragically, it is a case that involves the mysterious deaths of an entire family, but only Lixun can uncover what truly happened.

Firework is a horror puzzle game but focuses mainly on the narrative elements. Visually, it features 2D sprites and backgrounds, and players can only move Lin left or right through the various scenes. Sometimes there are doorways that take Lin to new areas when entered, while at other times, his surroundings can mysteriously change by solving puzzles. These puzzles are also relatively straightforward to solve, and puzzle fans shouldn’t have any trouble with the game. The game usually confines players to the area where the puzzle has to be solved, and there’s no need to worry about backtracking or missing essential items.

Shiying Studio uses a watercolor style for the visuals combined with a muted palette to enhance the oppressive atmosphere of the game. For most of the game, Lin wanders around with a candle in his hand, which only illuminates his immediate surroundings. This results in the game feeling very bleak and strange, but thankfully players do not have to worry about getting chased by monsters or encountering jump scares.

The music in Firework is a perfect fit for the game and features plenty of haunting melodies as well as beautiful tracks such as “Where Is She.” Unfortunately, the game does not have voice acting, which is not surprising given the sheer amount of dialogue but makes up for it with many sound effects. In conjunction with the soundtrack, these sound effects give Firework a very haunted feel. With only two buttons and left or right movement, Firework is easy to play with either a keyboard or a controller. The game also auto-saves quite frequently, but players can manually save at any time.

Although incredibly well-received in its home country, there was always the risk that western audiences might not find Firework as compelling. Thankfully, this is not the case, and the story had us hooked right from the start. There will obviously be some cultural references and story elements that might not be as obvious to English-speaking players. Still, the game does a good job explaining everything for the most part. The quality of the translation is also good, and we only spotted a few grammar issues here and there. One thing that English players will have to concentrate on is keeping track of the names of everyone involved in the story. There are quite a few characters, both living and deceased, that are vital to the plot, and remembering who is who can be tricky for some. It is worth the effort, though, as, despite many twists and turns, the story wraps up quite satisfactorily.

Firework is not a game for horror fans that want violence, gore and jump scares, but those who can appreciate a good story with a slow build-up will love this one. It is not a very long game but packs in more than enough surprises along the way. The story also has more depth than what one would expect from a horror title which, combined with the lack of jumpscares, makes this a game everyone can enjoy.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 or greater
  • Processor: Intel i5 Quad-Core
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
  • Storage: 2 GB available space

Related posts

Cannon Brawl

Cannon Brawl

Cannon Brawl is an extremely addictive title that manages to blend together several genres without making any compromises. The action is fast paced, but strategic thinking is rewarded and the balance is also very good. While the Adventure mode isn't very long, the AI battles and multiplayer modes will keep you coming back for more. If you are looking for an entertaining title to play against friends, either online or local, Cannon Brawl should be high on your wishlist. Gameplay: Fast paced, challenging and very addictive. Graphics: Colorful and polished, but the visuals can be a bit cluttered at times. Sound: A decent soundtrack and good sound effects.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice might not have the best combat or puzzles in the genre, but it is hard to beat in terms of storytelling and immersion. There are not many other games on the market that can hold a candle to it when it comes to visuals and animation, while the way it realistically portrays psychosis is also groundbreaking. The game still features plenty of combat, but it is not the primary focus, so players expecting something closer to previous Ninja Theory titles will probably be a little disappointed. However, if you can appreciate something with a strong narrative focus and willingness to tackle subjects that few others dare, then Hellblade is your game. Gameplay: The combat and puzzles are a bit weak, but the overall experience is superb. Graphics: Although the game is very bleak overall, the detail and animations are top notch. Sound: This is definitely a game that must be played with headphones thanks to the awesome binaural sounds.

Bus Simulator 18

Bus Simulator 18

Bus Simulator 18 walks a fine line between being a full-on simulator and offering an accessible experience for newcomers to the genre. It features a fairly sizable city, a number of licensed buses as well as the opportunity to not only drive your buses, but also manage your company and create new routes. A couple of areas of the game could still benefit from some improvements, but what is on offer is still very enjoyable, especially if you have a hankering for coasting around in a bus. A steering wheel is highly recommended for the most immersive experience and you need fairly beefy hardware to run the game properly, but overall we can definitely recommend it. Gameplay: Create bus routes, drive them and make money while trying not to mess up. Graphics: Plenty of good along with a couple of not so good. Sound: Authentic sounds and decent music, but those chattering passengers become repetitive a little too soon.

Control

Control

Control is an over the top third-person shooter with a very interesting story and setting. Unfortunately, while the combat can be a lot of fun, thanks to your supernatural powers, it can also become a bit repetitive after a while. We also found that the main story didn’t manage to grab our attention in the same way as some of the things described in the classified file collectibles that are scattered about did. Nevertheless, if you are looking for something that is a bit out of the ordinary, looks great, and offers more replay value than any of Remedy's previous titles, then Control is worth a try. Gameplay: Sometimes boring, sometimes chaotic, sometimes repetitive, but also filled with a few great sections. Graphics: The game looks great if you have the hardware to do it justice. Sound: The soundtrack could have been better, but the voice acting is top-notch.

Dusk Diver 酉閃町

Dusk Diver 酉閃町

Take control of an ordinary girl who gains extraordinary powers and the ability to step through rifts in reality to battle vicious "Chaos Beasts." Dusk Diver features the vibrant real-world setting of Ximending as well as it's shadowy fictional counterpart Youshanding for players to explore. It's a "Musou" style beat 'em up, so expect plenty of punching and kicking, but there's also some downtime between missions for exploring Ximending, eating food and performing side quests. Despite some flaws, Dusk Diver is a very compelling game and definitely something for fans of the genre. Gameplay: Combat can become repetitive, but overall the game is fun to play. Graphics: The vibrant anime art style and unique setting for the game are both great. Sound: Decent music and full Japanese as well as Mandarin voice acting.

Lilly Looking Through

Lilly Looking Through

Lilly Looking Through manages to captivate without being dragged down by some of the more cumbersome aspects of the genre. The beautiful artwork and animations will draw you in while the clever puzzles are a challenge without ever becoming too obscure. I only wish there was more to experience as the adventure ended all too soon. Gameplay: A nice take on the point & click adventure genre. Graphics: Beautiful backgrounds and outstanding character animations. Sound: Atmospheric and relaxing.

Leave a comment

twenty − five =