This charming puzzle game for the iOS platform is unique in many ways. From the gameplay to the presentation and dialogue, there is a lot to love in Helsing’s Fire. The simple premise is certain to be enjoyed by young and old players alike.
The story is introduced to the players through a series of newspaper clippings. Dr. Helsing and his partner Raffton, who were on adventure in Egypt hunting mummies, return home to London, England, after a mysterious darkness engulfed the area. In this “shadow blight” the village is overrun by Count Dracula’s evil creatures. Helsing and Raffton take it upon themselves to clear up the darkness and save the people. Read More...
To do so, the pair must use a torch to target enemies and then apply coloured tonics to attack them. Enemy types will vary and get stronger as players progress through the game, starting with simple rats and bats all the way to werewolves and mummies before tacking the final boss, Count Dracula. Different enemies will require specifically coloured tonics to remove their shields and then kill them. If the wrong coloured tonic is applied to an enemy, it will develop a shield of that colour.
Later levels will also introduce maidens. These human characters must be protected and untouched by the tonics to successfully complete the level. Attacking werewolves will also turn them into maidens, so players should be ware not to accidentally hit them when in that state or they will have to start the level over. Stronger enemies will attempt to blow out the torch, either when approaching them too closely or after attacking them, by shooting darkness towards the light source.
Each level gives you three torches to work with along with a defined number of tonics, requiring players to apply them in the right order to kill all the enemies. The tonics that are left over after completing a level will be added to your score.
The tone of the game is lighthearted with a deadpan humour that is very amusing. The dialogue is mildly sarcastic, especially when commenting on the quality of the enemies Dracula sets on their path - they are no match for our heroes. After completing a level, the score screen will depict Helsing and Raffton in a variety of handshakes, high-fives or fist-pumps, a very funny touch.
The game is broken down into three worlds, the Abandoned Village, Haunted Forest and Cursed Castle. Once each of these sections has been cleared they become available to play in Survival Mode, which has players fighting wave after wave of enemies for high scores until they either run out of lanterns, tonics or hit a human.
The game connects via wifi to allow users to post their scores and times online. It also offers three save slots and the option to skip dialogue screens after starting a second game. Players can listen to their own songs or to the included soundtrack which suits the game pretty well, featuring both mysterious and lighthearted music.
On the accessibility side, Helsing’s Fire offers a colourblindness setting letting players adjust the colour scheme to their specific needs. The controls are easy to manipulate with most of the game being playable with one finger. While being timed, the levels can be played as slowly as required, giving players the chance to think at their own pace. Difficulty modes include the standard easy, normal and hard, as well as absurd - for a real challenge.
Helsing’s Fire is a highly addictive and pleasant game. Playing through the story mode took me about two hours and there is more game play available in Survival Mode. The game also generates random levels in subsequent playthroughs, which adds to the overall replay value. An excellent puzzle game to have in your iOS collection, Helsing’s Fire is a must-buy.
+ Original Gameplay
+ Excellent Presentation
+ Simple Control Scheme
+ Colourblind Options
- Story Mode is Relatively Short
Game Forward Score: 5/5
Nathalie Caron > Game Forward
Helsing's Fire (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad) Quick Facts:
Developer: Ratloop, Inc.
Release Date: August 31, 2010 (v1.2)
iTunes Rating: 4+