Pixelated games are real works of art.
It seems like there was a point in time when pixel games weren’t quite as popular. They were too old or retro looking. Now, though, any time I see a pixelated game I find myself really being able to appreciate the effort that goes into the art style. And when a game like Wildfire comes along, with an intriguing story and engaging gameplay to go along with its beautiful art style, it’s a real winner.
Wildfire hooked me within 30 seconds of playing. Its opening scene, which shows a character being burned at the stake with no context as to why, is intense. I couldn’t wait to see how the game was going to get to that moment. From there, you learn that your character lives in a small village and you and your family have had to scrounge for food because the village is quite poor. Not long after you bring a chicken home for dinner, a meteorite falls from the sky. You discover it in a nearby cave, pick up a piece and suddenly gain the ability to manipulate fire.
The game takes place during a time when people would accuse each other of being witches. So, having the ability to control fire makes you pretty suspicious to say the least. Thankfully, due to your newly-acquired abilities, any enemies that cross your path have a bad time ahead of them. But you won’t be using these abilities to attack them head on; Wildfire is a predominantly stealth-focused game.
I tend to be absolute rubbish at stealth games, but Wildfire is great at teaching you the best ways to get out of sticky situations. Your character can hide in grass to avoid detection or use their fire ability to set fires and distract or scare off nearby enemies. As you progress you’ll unlock more abilities and thus, more ways to get away smoothly. It’s also helpful that Wildfire gives characters indicators above their heads to let you know when you’ve been spotted or if the enemy is suspicious of you.
You’ll pass through a wide variety of environments as you play through Wildfire. After only an hour or so, you’ll have been to quite a few different locations. Moving through these areas smoothly can be difficult, but I never found myself stuck on one area for too long. Getting to practice various distraction methods and being a cheeky sneak remains fun throughout.
When it all comes together, Wildfire is a triumphant stealth game that’s a lot of fun to play. It has a beautiful pixel art style, a captivating story and easy to learn mechanics that make it an unexpectedly great game to pick up. I’m looking forward to seeing what else is in store for my interesting protagonist.
Wildfire is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch.