Game: Firegirl: Hack ‘n Splash Rescue
Release Date: December 14, 2021
Platform: Steam, expected to arrive on consoles in late 2022
Geek to Geek Media was provided with a review copy of this title.
Story, Setting, and Style
Firegirl is a gorgeous game of finding and rescuing survivors, battling fire monsters, and playing with a water hose that lets you fly up in the air. It plays as a roguelite where you run through several randomly generated levels earning money to upgrade your components such as the water tank, health, armor, etc. These levels are from different calls that were received about fires in the town. Sometimes you run through apartment buildings, sometimes giant plazas, sometimes even runaway trains.
You play as the nameless “Firegirl” (or maybe that actually is your name?). The daughter of a firefighting hero who unfortunately lost his life in a fire years earlier, you seem to be well known.
As a rookie, you would think that they would go easy on you…but no. You are sent into giant burning buildings and trains all by yourself to knock down doors with your axe and defeat water monsters with your trusty water hose. Sort of makes you wonder if the other firefighters here do anything? Oh well, it's a good thing you are awesome.
Actually, the way I play she isn't. This game is a challenge. More on that later though.
The story for Firegirl is intriguing. It's not simply that buildings are catching on fire. Why are the flames alive with faces and the ability to throw fireballs at you? Who is setting the town on fire? Why is the mayor cutting the fire department's budget while the town is on fire? Why is there an FBI agent lurking around? And who -or what- is the FIRELORD??
The Gameplay Loop
Firegirl plays as a roguelite 2.5D action platformer. With hand-drawn animated pixel art, amazing use of lighting, and bright colors, this game is a joy to look at. Seriously, they did a great job with the lighting effects of the fire.
All of the levels are procedurally generated…which is both good and bad. Being randomly generated does feel a little off at times, but for the most part, it is really fun to never have the exact same map.
Firegirl is not an easy game though. As with any roguelite, when you are starting out it is downright depressing how poorly you do. Once things start getting leveled up it does get better, but there are a lot of casualties along the way. The dopamine rush of being able to complete a level without dying and with being able to rescue all the survivors is fantastic though and makes it all worth it.
My favorite gameplay mechanic? Being able to use your water hose as a rocket pack! Need to get up to the second floor but the stairs are broken? No worries! Simply aim the water hose at the ground under you, jump, and let the water carry you into the sky! So much fun. At the beginning of my playing, I learned that this also drains your water tank rather quickly so it should be used sparingly. However, as you earn money and upgrade the water tank and hose, it just gets more and more fun.
Another fun roguelite aspect is that you can use your earnings to also rebuild the firehouse! Hiring on a chef, a nurse, PR agents, and more all help to unlock new things in the game.
The Big Hook
For me, the big hook to Firegirl was originally the art. However, the more I played the more I got hooked on the story behind it. The creators of this game do a fantastic job of very slowly and subtly giving you clues to help unravel what is going on behind this mystery. In fact, I wrote a whole paragraph about the mystery and ended up deleting it because the fun really does come from finding it yourself as you play.
My only real negatives about this game revolve around its difficulty. If I had not planned on writing this review, I honestly would have stopped playing much earlier on. I am glad I did not stop because the game becomes much more fun as you are able to level up and earn new features. However, the simple fact that I would have stopped makes me have to knock down my rating some.
Most importantly…YOU CAN PET THE DOG.
So, that means it's a good game. Because…dogs.