Posted in: Tattle, Technology

Wildfire review: hide-and-seek in a medieval village of the damned

(Sneaky Bastards/Humble Games; PC)
Fire is your friend as you leap through this exhilarating game rescuing prisoners tied to stakes

Evasion is fundamental to human play: hide-and-seek is one of the first games every child learns, a hangover, perhaps, from our neolithic existence, before we reached the summit of the food chain and still had need to master the art of tiptoeing past predators. In Wildfire, the debut videogame from Australian outfit Sneaky Bastards, the “seekers” are medieval soldiers, not sabre-toothed tigers or roaming playmates. But the principle remains: sprint, leap, tumble and crouch your way through a series of increasingly challenging dioramas en route to the exit.

Much of your time is spent cringing in tall grass, whistling to divert guards to investigate one particular spot, thereby enabling you to sneak away via another route. Happily, a series of encounters with mystical meteor shards grant you, during the course of the game, modest mastery of the elements to aid your progress. Approach a campfire, for example, and you’re able to whisk the flame into your hand, where it flickers, painlessly, until you hurl it toward, say, a wooden gate, a thicket of dry grass or the ropes that tie one of your fellow villagers to a stake. Guards panic at the sight of fire, causing them to sprint, erratically, through the scene – a pinch of unpredictability to foil the most conscientious planner.

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