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Grand Ages Medieval

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Family Friendly Gaming Hall of Fame




Helsings Fire

 

 

SCORE: 77

 

Helsings Fire 

 

The shadow blight has covered the world in darkness and it’s up to Dr. Helsing and his trusty sidekick Raffton to shine their light into the darkness and defeat the creatures lurking in the night. This puzzle game by Chillingo is filled with evil creatures of darkness, but don’t write it off just yet…

Helsing’s Fire does not employ cutting edge graphics or meticulous detail to its gameplay environments. Instead, the use of dynamic lighting is the main graphical element in this game. The colors within are dim and muted. This is intentional as the in-game world is covered in shadow. When Dr. Helsing fires up his torch this sheds some light on things bringing more color into the game. Oddly the enemies are actually the primary sources of color found in the game. Comprised of solid reds, blues, and greens your foes make for some nice splashes of color in an otherwise gloomy environment. As for offensive graphical content, Helsing’s fire features a host of mythical baddies including vampires, werewolves, skeletons, ghosts, etc. While these are obviously not examples of wholesome imagery, they are presented in a surprisingly lighthearted way. To give you a mental picture, think of these villains as about as frightening as the characters from the classic TV show “The Munsters”. Even Herman and Lilly may be a bit more intimidating than anything found in this game. Even so, parents may wish to keep exposure to these types of images away from younger players.

How many video games can you think of that combine creepy organ music with hip-hop? Helsing’s Fire somehow miraculously marries these two types of music together without it getting weird. The primary music in the game is the spooky pipe organ style that plays in the background as you fight through a level. This creates somewhat of a dark mood. As you complete a level, however, your celebratory knuckle bumps are accompanied by modern urban beats. This combo creates a fun atmosphere despite the creepiness. The sound effects in this game are done well and fit each action properly. Rats “screet” when defeated, skeletons “crumble” when vanquished, and so on. I didn’t find any offensive sounds in the course of playing this game which was a pleasant surprise. The audio is used properly to give you gratifying feedback when you defeat an enemy.

The game features 90 standard gameplay levels which gives you plenty to do, but Helsing’s Fire has few unlockable features or extras to speak of. After completing each “world”, comprised of 30 levels each, you will unlock the Survival mode for that world. This mode challenges players to complete as many levels as possible before the timer runs out. Also available are Crystal achievements that players can earn as they go. Other than these features there is not much bonus content to be found here.

I found the unique gameplay of Helsing’s fire to be a lot of fun. The game eases players into things slowly so that they can get a feel for the strategy required to play successfully. You essentially have two weapons at your disposal: torches and tonics. Enemies in the game are only vulnerable when they are in the light. Players therefore must position their torch in such a way that it exposes these enemies. Once exposed, you can toss a tonic to attack the enemy. This sounds pretty simple, but of course there is a bit more to it than that. Enemies vary in color as do your limited number of tonics. Enemies can only be damaged by a tonic of a matching color. The trick is exposing only the enemies of matching color before throwing your tonic. As the game progresses you will find that some enemies also have shields which vary in color and some enemies have the ability to fight back or move around when attacked. Placing your torch becomes increasingly difficult due to objects in the level that block your light and enemies of differing colors being positioned in close proximity to one another. This game is very simple to understand and learn, but it is still challenging to implement a correct strategy in order to finish each level successfully. The touch screen controls work well and the level design is clever making this a fun puzzle game.

I wouldn’t say that this game ranks up there as a family friendly game. Though the creatures are not too creepy, this is still a game that has a strong focus on evil mythical beasts and creatures of darkness. You take on the role of the hero charged with saving the helpless “fair maidens” with an emphasis on protecting human life, so I suppose that is the bright side. Some of the text in the game could be offensive to some. The creatures are at one time referred to as “unholy”, the Cyclops creature refers to “the gods” commanding him, and death is a prominent theme throughout. In all fairness the creators have kept the mood of the game light and humorous despite the dark premise. I would recommend keeping this one away from younger children (despite the 4+ rating), but those mature enough to handle some minor ghouls and ghosts will have no problem with this game.
-Roger

 

Graphics: 72%
Sound: 80%
Replay/Extras: 75%
Gameplay: 89%
Family Friendly Factor: 70%
System: iPhone/iPod Touch
Publisher: Chillingo
Rating: '4+' for 4+

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Roger@familyfriendlygaming.com