Review: Flame Keeper (Nintendo Switch)
Flame Keeper is an action/adventure game that takes players on a journey through a dark, ominous world, and lets them control the power of FIRE! Take control of a piece of coal named Ignis. He is the protector of the Eternal Flame of Orbis. The story begins when enemies descend upon the land of Orbis and steal the Eternal Flame. After reducing the eternal flame to mere embers, they stick around and wreak havoc on the remaining creatures of Orbis. It’s Ignis’ job to restore the flame to its former glory and “smoke” out the bad guys!
Flame Keeper is easy to get the hang of. The left joystick is used to move Ignis around and the right joystick is used to aim and shoot. Ignis is equipped with a variety of abilities that players can use to annihilate enemies, as well as a general dash ability and a shield ability. Attacking enemies with your special abilities will lower your stamina, but it restores over time. You also have a health bar. Normally you wouldn’t have to worry too much about this, due to enemies dropping plenty of health upon defeating them. However, your health bar is also used to restore fire to the various lanterns and fire pits around Orbis.
To ignite the fire pits in each area, you will need to collect coals/embers that are scattered throughout the land. You can find these when you shake trees, move objects, or defeat enemies. Once you have collected a good amount you will add them to the fire, and once it is fully restored you can move on to the next area. There were only a few times I had to go looking for embers to complete a level, but it was never much of an issue finding them. Enemies respawn, so the game kind of gives you what you need.
The fast-paced combat system is really fun. Running through levels and blowing through bad guys, feels great. But there are challenges and obstacles that will test your skills and patience. Enemies do respawn as mentioned above, and sometimes combat can feel repetitive. The beginning levels are pretty easy. But once you get far enough, the difficulty rises a bit. There are also bosses that you will need to defeat. These present some welcomed variety when it comes to gameplay and combat.
Between levels you can visit the hub area, a small village where you can get new abilities and upgrades. Here you will be able to access your skill tree. You can use any resources you have collected during your travels to upgrade Ignis however you see fit. Abilities range from stronger physical attacks, to elemental spells. Resources are acorns, mushrooms, seeds, etc. These are gained when defeating enemies or found while exploring a level.
The world has a darker color palette. However, a lot of the enemies are bright and contrasting to the dark backgrounds. There are a lot of eye catching creatures, lurking about. The aesthetics and short cutscenes were nice. If you’re in the mood for Halloweentown 24/7, Orbis is the place to be. I would have liked a more in-depth story ,though. I’m glad for the lack of dialogue and being able to get straight to the point, but I always feel distant from a game when I can’t really get to know the characters or their backstories.
Overall, Flame Keeper is a fun, action-packed game. It’s just a matter of how much action you can take before you feel “burnt out” (I’m doing pretty well with these fire puns). Gameplay is repetitive, and there isn’t much to keep you visually stimulated, but running around kicking butt is satisfying. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, combat-based game, you will definitely want to check out Flame Keeper.