The indie developers Ratloop have done it again. The Independent Games Festival finalists have launched something quite unique through Chillingo's budget brand, Clickgamer. Helsing's Fire was introduced almost a month ago in the AppStore its combination of quick gameplay, English humor, beautiful graphics and music could be a major threat for the hit Angry Birds, even for those that are not big fans of the genre.
UPDATE 01/09/2010 Clickgamer has added extra content to Helsing's Fire, including new characters, campaigns, game modes, challenges,… a full load of freebies that add even more value to this essential game.
Helsing's Fire [iTunes Link] is a puzzle game where you use light and shadow to defeat creepy creatures that you'll find in the 90 different challenges. The goal of the game is to eradicate the enemies on the screen using light from a torch, hence the name of the game, combined with different potions. Any monster on sight illuminated by the torch will be blasted by the effect of the potion, but here's the trick: Enemies are only affected by potions of a certain colour; you need to match the colour of the creature with the potion used, otherwise you'll have to start all over again.
The early levels of the game are pretty easy but serve as tutorial to get used to the game mechanics, get familiar with the story and enjoy the gorgeous art and animations included. The player is presented with a maze of obstacles that will project shadows over the enemies, so placing the torch on the right spots will be crucial. You control it either dragging or pointing and when you're happy with the placement, select a potion of the appropriate colour to do the trick. The As easy as it sounds, the game will get more complex as creatures become stronger, move around the scenario or turn into innocent civilians that you should keep alive.
The gameplay does for very quick gaming that can be easy most of the times, but will require to put a bit of thinking in higher levels to avoid running out of tonics. Once you have learned how to place the torch fast to cover monsters of one colour, the big deal will be calculate how many tonics you need to complete the level. You might find some rats or skeletons that need to be hit with blue and then with a red tonic.
In addition to the addictive gameplay, for me the beauty of Helsing's Fire resides in how well produced this is, specially when we talk about a non AAA game. The visuals are stunning. I really like the style used mixing two-colour characters and the colour palette used.
The lighting effects, the fire animation and the fog really add to the game and help the player to get in the mood to hunt vampires. Everything is simple, but beautifully produced; not simplistic like your average Flash game.
The music adds to it too. Good to see that the developer included the option to play your own music with the game, although the two tracks used are very cool, catchy, but sadly become repetitive over time. There are other details that make this game great, but this is something very personal.
I did enjoy the dialogues and the humor style. If you don't have this game, I seriously recommend you have a look at the video. If you already own it, go and check the challenge mode when you log into Crystal. There is a mini game kind of hidden to challenge other users where you have to guess the handshake celebration. A sort of paper scissors rock game, Helsing's style.