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".
Summary 0.0 Terrible


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

Rescue Quest Gold

Rescue Quest Gold

Rescue Quest Gold is a Match-3 puzzle game with plenty of levels and gameplay that requires a bit more strategy than what is typically found in the genre. It is a very enjoyable experience and one that manages to keep things interesting. While it was originally a free to play title, it is definitely worth shelling out for this newly remastered premium version thanks to a host of enhancements and improvements. If you are a fan of the Match-3 genre in particular or casual games in general, then don’t miss out on this title. Gameplay: Challenging and very addictive. Graphics: Detailed, colorful and very polished. Sound: A perfect match for the game.

Death’s Hangover

Death's Hangover

Help Death to take back the souls stolen by Bastard Dracula in this Breakout style game by Retro Army Limited. It features plenty of different levels, useful power-ups, and some big bosses. The game is easy to pick up and play, but finding all of the souls can be a challenge. The eighteen different endings, two-player mode, and level editor boost the replay value, though, and overall the game is a decent choice for fans of the genre. Gameplay: Challenging and entertaining. Graphics: The pixel art visuals look great. Sound: Decent sound effects and music.

Bulb Boy

Bulb Boy

Bulb Boy is a strange point & click adventure style game about a boy with a bulb for a head trying to save his family from the evil that took over their house. It features some surprising elements for the genre, such as action scenes and boss battles, along with simple yet fun puzzles to solve. Some parts of the game can be annoying and the game is rather short despite its slow pace, but overall it deserves a closer look. Gameplay: Not your typical point & click adventure. Graphics: Gory, gross, and actually quite good. Sound: Unnerving sound effects and creepy music.

3D Realms Anthology – Steam Edition

3D Realms Anthology - Steam Edition

3D Realms created some of the best PC titles in the 90s bar none and the opportunity to add the whole bunch of them to your Steam library shouldn’t be missed. Whether you fondly remember playing these games as a kid or simply want to check out why these games revolutionist the Shareware industry don’t hesitate to splash out on this anthology. Just bear in mind that a lot of the titles included in the anthology can also be picked up for free from the 3D Realms website. Gameplay: The anthology features 32 classic games spread across a multitude of genres. Graphics: Since the majority of these games are pushing three decades in age the visuals are a little dated, but certainly not bad. Sound: Many of the games feature great audio and the inclusion of the Re-Rockestrated Soundtrack is also a big plus.

Will Rock

Will Rock

Even if you were a big fan of the Serious Sam games Will Rock just tries too hard to imitate the master. It's still very playable but soon becomes tedious. Play it if you like your shooter games brainless. Gameplay: Very average compared to what's available. Graphics: Nice in places but not really up to scratch. Sound: Average

Prince of Persia (2008)

Prince of Persia (2008)

While the gameplay is a departure from previous Prince Of Persia titles, the lavish locations and excellent characters combine to make this a great game. Some people will hate the simplified gameplay, while others will love the new style. Gameplay: A Departure from the series, but still good. Graphics: The art direction is really good. Sound: Great music and audio.

Leave a comment

13 − twelve =