Each month, the Indie Spotlight highlights a new game that exemplifies the creativity, cleverness, and beauty of today’s independent games market.
This month’s Indie Spotlight is:
Humans have had a fascination with fire since Prometheus first stole it from Olympus. There is something we find bewitching about this elemental power, a force that exists in a perpetual duality at all times of both creation and destruction. Since the very earliest days of mankind, we have been both fascinated and terrified by the flame and what it represents. We use fire to cook our food and to keep us warm, and through the harnessing of it, set ourselves on the path of civilization as we know it.
One thing we never seem to get over, however, is our own hubris. Because every single time we successfully wield the power of the flame, we – either individually or collectively – on some level claim dominion over it and that it will always do our bidding on our terms. But not a week goes by when we aren’t routinely reminded that fire, if left to its own devices, will consume anything and everything it can. It has no consciousness and does not discriminate on where it moves. Its will is solely to spread and consume, maintaining its own life force as long as it can. It only takes one poorly watched spark to reignite those ambitions.
And of course, the more densely populated human beings are, the more problems that brings with it when a fire does get out of control. Historically most dwellings are made out of highly flammable materials like, say, wood, and as towns and cities develop, those houses get closer and closer together. So when a fire does proclaim its freedom, it can spread very, very quickly.
Really. The course of human history is littered time and again with famous examples of entire cities leveled to the ground because of fire. For an uncontained fire serves no one but itself.
In time we have slowly learned to combat such urban blazes as best we can – mostly out of necessity. An unchecked fire can do untold amounts of damage, and so minimizing its damage is paramount. In the modern era, that means firefighters: men and women of equal parts altruist, bravado, and madness, which make them uniquely suited to the job. These are the people who rush towards the fires with the sole intent of trying to save lives and property, in that order.
In the past, however, firefighting wasn’t a public service. In fact, it was common practice for a while that different cities had multiple fire companies, and they competed for your insurance business. In case something were to happen…
That capitalistic mindseet is where you find yourself with The Brigade, the inaugural title by Red Genie Games. In this action-point game, each player becomes the manager of a competing firehouse in the rather poorly designed (and yet aptly-named) fantasy town of Tinderbox. At the center of this town, depicted via a series of tiles, lies the Pyromancer’s University. Unsurprisingly, rains of fireballs are common here due to mishaps with meteor conjuring and the occasional explosion. Which means there’s plenty of fires to be put out.
Over the course of the game, players must move around to different locations to douse the various fires that have sprung up. Fighting these fires isn’t easy though, as you only have so much time and water to use at a time. If players waste too much time, buildings will burn down, and if the town loses too many buildings, the town will be evacuated and everyone loses. Upgrading your equipment and crew are essential to saving as many buildings as possible, all in the hopes of gaining the most loyalty from the towsfolk as the most dependable water brigade company in town and securing your role as the new fire chief.
It may not be the most selfless act going, sure, but if you don’t do it, someone else will step in and you’ll be out of a job. And then probably out of a house. You know, after it burns down.
So what do you say? Do you have what it takes to join The Brigade? Job openings are heating up!
Do you have a game that we should spotlight? Let us know at: email@example.com!
Previous Indie Game Spotlights:
March 2018: The City of Kings | Review | Developer’s Site
January 2018: Triplock | Review | Developer’s Site