Fire: Ungh’s Quest
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Genre(s): Advneture, Puzzle
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 12/05/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Fire: Ungh’s Quest is a point-and-click adventure game following a caveman on his quest for fire. After being expelled from your village, travel through bizarre environments on your very own redemption arc. Is this game medium-rare perfection? Or is it overcooked? Find out in this Rapid Review.
Trial by fire
As someone who rarely plays point-and-click adventures, I was surprised by how simple the story was. Ungh, the character I played as forgot to refuel his clan’s fire overnight. This act of negligence got him kicked out of his home and he was left to fend for himself. To reunite himself with his clan, he is tasked with finding a new source of fire. Even though the story did not have a major role in Fire: Ungh’s Quest, the overarching story is cute, and I really enjoyed it. Even though the story is charming, there was not enough of a story to have it justify the price. Luckily, the gameplay was immersive and enjoyable as well.
Checked and Balanced
The developers threw me into the action straight away. There were no extensive tutorials, no dialogue to read, and no difficulty selections. For a game as simple as this one, I really enjoyed that decision. Learning how to interact with the environment was self-explanatory to me and the developers included plenty of features so players would not get lost. While playing in docked mode, the best form of assistance comes with the cursor changing colours over interactable options. It prevented me from spending extensive time searching for which items are interactable. As I continued playing, I uncovered new techniques as well. By holding down the B button, all interactable options show up on the screen. I found this very useful, as I no longer needed to guess which items could be used and instead got to focus on how to tackle each puzzle.
This was even more useful when I got to some of the more challenging puzzles. I found that Fire: Ungh’s Quest had a great difficulty curve. Each level began implementing new ideas and concepts that built on the previous levels. While this may seem overwhelming, the developers are great at telegraphing what each item does, or whether I needed to find another object to interact with a certain item. When interacting with an something that required an item I did not possess, Ungh’s head would open, and he would be visibly confused. As silly as this is, I found it extremely helpful. Especially at the beginning of the level, when I saw this animation, I knew there would be another asset to assist me along the way. Additionally, as mentioned previously, if there was a section where I got stumped, I could always view the interactable options.
Rewarding Skillful Gameplay
The developer continues helping the player by removing unnecessary assets too. Once an item has been used to its fullest extent or is no longer relevant, the item usually gets destroyed (caveman style) or transforms into something else with new features. This further kept me engaged with the game, as it prevented me from wasting my time with useless items. It also reinforced that if I had an item, it could be and would be used somewhere to further my progression. It was one of my favourite aspects of the game. Even with all these features that make the game accessible, I never found that the game was too easy or that there was no challenge. It kept my attention the whole way through and continued building in difficulty and scope as time went on. There were even collectables hidden in each level for an additional challenge.
As excellent as the features are, a point-and-click adventure is only as good as its levels. Thankfully, for the most part, Fire: Ungh’s Quest does an excellent job. It undoubtedly features excellent theming. All interactable objects are self-explanatory but most importantly, as outrageous as some of these objects are, they all fit in well with the other objects that surround them. In one level, I transformed from a caveman to a bear and a mouse. These wacky concepts are unique but also fit the theme of the game. Even when taking part in outer space, the levels retain a similar style to the other levels in the game. As interesting and unique as some levels are, there are other levels that feel boring and lack the charm found in other levels.
Changing the future
For example, when landing on the moon, I anticipated unique puzzles like those found in nearly every other level and was looking forward to seeing how the developers would implement moon gravity into their arsenal. Unfortunately, I was let down. The level revolved around selecting floating floor pieces to put them back into place, and mindlessly shooting aliens. On the other hand, I was blown away by how unique certain levels were. In one level, I time-travelled to the past to sink the Titanic and combine prokaryotic cells into eukaryotic ones. Overall, the level designs are excellent but certain levels were disappointing, especially given the potential for unique puzzle designs in special locations.
I thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay overall despite a few letdowns. However, my largest disappointment with the game comes from the control scheme required to play. Fire: Ungh’s Quest is not compatible with the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, meaning I had to use either a single Joy-Con and motion controls or use the touch screen in handheld mode. After struggling through motion controls with a single Joy-Con, I decided to play the game in handheld mode. Sure, this was more enjoyable, but I was disappointed that I could not play comfortably in docked mode. Moreover, motion controls were required if I chose that option. Even using the touch screen, I would frequently have to select options multiple times because my touch would not register correctly. I was seriously disappointed by the control schemes required, especially since I enjoyed much of the game.
To complete the package, the developers included charming visuals that kept me immersed in the world. Each asset was unique and completely recognizable to me, even if it was a unique idea. Though the style and presentation were great, I often found that the artistic flares would slow down gameplay. My character would slowly walk from place to place and interacting with an object would always trigger an animation or require me to wait for my character. This was especially burdensome as if you have Ungh walk to the next screen before the animation for picking up an item is complete, he will stop the animation, not pick up the item and begin to leave the screen. This made for frustrating moments as then I needed to return to the previous area and rewatch the animation as I picked up the item.
Even though the presentation frequently slowed down the pace of gameplay, the visual style is incredible, and I thoroughly enjoyed the visuals themselves. The music is also excellent. It was lively and upbeat, encouraging my exploration nicely. The presentation in Fire: Ungh’s Quest was delightful despite my grievances with the animations.
Fire: Ungh’s Quest is an excellent experience burdened by some substantial drawbacks. Even with an excellent gameplay loop, a game without tight controls is a game I find myself playing sparingly. Moreover, the extensive slowdown from each animation made navigating each level and retracing my steps extremely taxing. Even with these frustrations, I really enjoyed my time with Fire: Ungh’s Quest and think the original level designs, intuitive puzzles, and accessibility features make this point-and-click adventure one worth trying out.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can purchase Fire: Ungh’s Quest on the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.