Helsing’s Fire in Review: Like Moths Incinerated In A Flame…

From a technical standpoint puzzle games are fairly easy to put together, because they don’t require a lot the visual trickery that many other game types do in order to be interesting.  On the other hand, developers have to be careful because it’s all too easy to make their game feel just like all the other puzzle games.  Even when you do come up with an original idea, making enough diverse levels is no easy task.  So if you’re interested in seeing all of this done correctly, look no further than Helsing’s Fire.  The concept is unique, the level designs are well executed, and the aesthetics are quite pleasant. Helsing’s Fire is yet another excellent publishing pick by Clickgamer.

You play Professor Helsing and his sidekick Raffton, and your job is to clear Dracula and his goons out of the Shadow Blight (though the name does make it seem like an appropriate place for them to live).  You have no guns at your disposal, however.  Instead you must use torches and potions to rid the blight of these nasty creatures.  Use the torches to illuminate the creatures, and then use like colored potions to eliminate them.  Initially this is a fairly easy task, as there are few creatures and they are all the same color. As you progress through the levels things become a bit trickier.  You will have different colored creatures in the same level, and a creature hit with the wrong color tonic will grow stronger instead of weaker.  Some creatures require multiple hits because they are surrounded with shields.  And then there are the aggressive creatures that will put out your torch if it gets too close to them.  You get three torches and a limited number of potions per level, and if either runs out you must start the level over.  There are even boss creatures that take multiple hits to kill and are more like a mini action game than a puzzle level.  On top of all that are the innocent bystanders, whom you have to avoid at all costs.

Controlling the game is simple and actually kind of cool.  You tap the screen to place a torch, and then you can drag to fine tune the position or tap somewhere else to move the torch.  Once you have the torch where you want it you simply tap the icon corresponding to the colored potion you wish to use.  When creatures are destroyed they leave money behind which you can tap on to collect.  Once the last creature is destroyed the game collects the money for you.  The real trick is being able to get the light just right so that you’re touching all the creatures of one color and no creatures of another color (or the innocents).  Sometimes this is a lot harder than it looks, and at times it’s advisable to back out of a level and try again later with a fresh prespective. Visually this is one of the best puzzle games I’ve seen in a while because it has such a unique style.  Every time I look at the map screen I think “Monty Python’s artist gone 8-bit”.  When you enter a level, I love how little bubbles pop up to show you what each character on the playing field.  The lighting effects are nifty, as is the release of a potion and its subsequent destruction.  Even the old fashioned look to the portraits is quite spiffy.

The sound effects do a pretty good job of complimenting the atmosphere, but I wish they would have added spoken dialog to the game.  The music is wonderful – when selecting a level the track sounds like something from a Castlevania game (appropriate?), and the in-level music is upbeat and fun.

Sometimes I get worried that game developers are too eager to rest on the laurels of other games, and then I play a game like Helsing’s Fire and feel much better about the state of things.  If you have any affinity towards puzzle games, you need this in your collection. Helsing’s Fire is that good. I’d suggest trying it anyway, even if you don’t like puzzle games.

App Summary
Title: Helsing’s Fire Developer: Clickgamer Technologies Ltd
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req:
Price: $0.99 App Size: 15.2 MB
  • Inventive mechanics
  • Wonderful, stylized graphics
  • Excellent music
  • Tons of levels
  • No voiceover work


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