Fire: Ungh’s Quest in Review – Not Your Typical Caveman Adventure

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There were several adventure games in 2015 that stood out for one reason or another, but Fire: Ungh’s Quest was by far the most unusual one that still managed to be enjoyable.  A wacky plot, plenty of challenging puzzles and some crazy supporting characters has kept me engaged for the most part.  Unfortunately, the need for a walkthrough has been a bit of a turn off.  In the end though, helping Ungh recover his fire has been primarily been a rewarding experience.

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You are Ungh, and thanks to your inability to stay away you must set out on a quest to recover the fire that has fizzled under your watch.  That’s pretty much the plot as far as I can tell, since what little interaction you have with any NPCs is a simplified form of Sim-speak with just enough pictures to hopefully clue you in on what you need to do in a particular level.  I guess in that regards you might consider this more of a puzzle game with a common thread tying everything together, but given that you actually do see your character and there is interaction with other characters and items in the game, I think it’s fair to call it an adventure game.  Or, as the developers coin it in the iTunes description, a “PuzzleVenture”.

The game is made up of 10 unique areas, and I can truthfully say that you will not have encountered anything like most of the puzzles in this game anywhere else.  The creativity in this game is amazing.  The down side to that is for the first four levels I pretty much had to refer to a walkthrough at least once on each level.  As someone who loathes using walkthroughs unless I absolutely have to, that was a hard thing to have to do time and again, but there were solutions that I would have never come up with otherwise.  Needless to say if you’re not one to think outside the box, this might not be the game for you.  Now I’m purposely avoiding going into specifics of the puzzles because discovery is the highlight of this game, but I will tell you that there’s one level that’s more like an arcade game than a puzzle, so if you believe that dexterity and reflexes have no place in an adventure game you might have issues as well.

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The interface is pretty much tap to interact with an item on the screen or use one of the buttons in the lower corners to move between segments of an area.  I can’t think of a time where any alternate controls like pinch or drag are used.  That’s kind of a shame because given the wacky nature of the game it could have been even more creative and silly in some spots had the features of the device been relied upon, but it doesn’t really detract from the fun of the game.  The ultimate goal of each area is to collect and free the firefly like creature, but there are also three coins to earn on each level.  These coins allow you to unlock extras like “Fire-ized” illustrations of the staff and working sketches of game art, but more than that they show you’ve truly mastered all the hidden aspects of the game.  There are also several achievements to earn, but good luck understanding what many of them mean unless you can speak caveman.

The artwork in Fire is wonderful.  The iTunes description says it is hand painted and it certainly looks the part.  Better yet, when you see the characters and background in motion it looks like a cartoon.  Everything is nicely detailed and the character designs are great.  Not every level has music, but when there is music playing it is enjoyable to listen to and suits the atmosphere of the area quite well.  There is actually one area with a music based puzzle that is rather interesting.  The sound effects further strengthen the cartoon like quality of the aesthetics.

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Even within the adventure gaming community, Fire: Ungh’s Quest won’t be for everyone.  If you’re really adamant on a strong plot or a casual gamer when it comes to puzzles, you’ll probably get frustrated with Fire before long.  On the other hand, if you want a game that looks and sounds like a cartoon and has puzzles that make you think outside the box, you’ll definitely want to give this game a try.  Just make sure you have a guide from your favorite walkthrough site on hand in case you’re playing somewhere that doesn’t have internet.

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App Summary
Title: Fire: Ungh’s QuestDeveloper: EuroVideo Medien GmbH
Reviewed Ver:1.1Min OS Req: iOS 6.0
Price:$3.99App Size:333.44MB
  • Crazy, fun atmosphere
  • Lots of challenging puzzles
  • Cartoon like visuals
  • Sound and music enhance cartoon feeling
  • Lite on plot
  • Some puzzles a bit too obscure

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Note: I didn’t list this as a con or make reference to it in the main review because it’s not a knock on the game, but it tends to crash frequently on my device. However, I am running an “ancient” iPad 2, so I’m just thankful it ran at all. I just offer this up to those who might still be using an older device, because while it could run, it probably won’t run well.

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