Wildfire is a stealth platformer game where you need to use elemental powers to outwit your enemies while saving the villagers. Believed to be a witch, you’ll need to sneakily escape with your life and protect your villagers at the same time. With its quirky story and stealth mechanics, is this game worth a play?
The Arch Duchess and her armies are superstitious and believe you’re a witch, burning your village down and attempting (multiple times) to kill you. Luckily for you, you don’t die. Instead, you harness the elemental powers, gaining control of fire, water, and earth. For example, once they try to burn you at the stake, you earn fire powers instead.
These powers can be upgraded throughout the game, too. For example, instead of tossing a fireball, you can upgrade it to bounce on the ground once, allowing you to make it go farther.
These armies have captured the villagers, and it’s your job to make sure they all escape with their lives without getting caught yourself. Thus, the stealth gameplay comes in.
Each level is fairly short as you make your way through various environments such as forests, caves, and mountains. Each area might have a different object. For example, you might need to make it to the end yourself, or there might be a villager or two to save. In some cases, you’ll begin a level with a couple of villagers, and you’ll have to escort them through the level.
Aside from being sneaky, you need to use your environment to your advantage. Once you’re in tall grass, you’re hidden from your enemies. You can move, and you can even pickpocket some of them as they walk by. But if you’re in their line of sight when you exit the grass, they’ll notice and chase you down. You can avoid them by jumping onto another ledge and getting out of their line of sight, thus confusing them. You can also hide in another patch of grass, but if they see you, they’ll cut down the grass with their sword.
Unfortunately, you can’t fight your enemies. You can’t hurl a fireball at them, but you can burn the grass. If they’re on the side, the fire will freak them out, and they’ll run away. Be careful, though – once you burn the grass, it’s gone, thus losing a hiding spot for you. I thought this was an interesting choice because it allows for a good balance. You have to stick to your environment to outsmart your opponents truly.
Also, you don’t want anyone to die either. There’s no true consequence for if someone does die (whether they’re an enemy or a villager), but at the end of each level, you’ll get a list of stats and challenges, one of them being that no one dies. It’s a linear game, but you can go back to previous levels to try again in case you accidentally made someone die, or you want to beat your completion time.
For example, there’s a level where a few villagers are tethered to explosives, and you need to race the fuse to save them all. My sister and I tried this level three or four times, and still, in the end, there was one villager we couldn’t save. The difficulty of this game isn’t hard, but some levels are easier than others.
Speaking of my sister, Wildfire can be played with up to two players, and I highly recommend playing this with a friend. I tried playing a few levels alone, and it wasn’t as fun. Doable, but I had a blast going through the game with a second player. The stealth is a bit harder since neither of you can get caught (though you can revive each other if someone dies), and there’s a lot more to strategize.
Communication is key when playing this game with a friend. Most of the time, my sister and I would have our characters sitting in the tall grass as we discussed who should go where and when and why. Often, one of us would be a decoy for an enemy or two while the other snuck past. Alternatively, if we got spotted, one of us would run away accidentally, ditching the other, letting them get caught and killed. We shared a lot of laughs, and part of that was also due to the humorous dialogue.
Overall, Wildfire is a delight to play. The levels are short, so you can play in short bursts if needed. It’s different than most games with a linear story but plenty of ways to strategize either alone or with a second player.