Playing Fireburst is like a sine wave of emotion. It begins with a dip. You're dropped without clue into an unfriendly menu system, with a tutorial tucked away in an unexpected sub-menu. Because you're clever, you'll begin to work out the system of boosting and heat management that defines the game.
That is: boost, and you'll build heat. Your only limitation - and it's a fairly important one - is you'll explode when your heat meter fills. Water cools you down, so learning a track is a matter of knowing where the puddles, water barrels and jets are. Timing a boost so that you're just about to explode as you coast into the shoreline is the beginning of the first upwards curve on that sine wave.
Then, you'll discover that hidden tutorial. This is your way of understanding what you've been seeing on the track - that there are four groups of cars, each with a different weapon that kicks in when you activate your boost.
Firewheels cars leave Back To The Future flame trails that are relatively harmless on wide tracks, but deadly in a narrow corridor. Boosting in a Fireball car transforms you into a flaming cannonball - ideal for deadly shunts through the pack. Flamewall cars shoot sideways, killing over-takers, and Fireblast vehicles end each boost with an explosion that takes out nearby cars. Suddenly, it seems like this could actually be fun.
We're riding high on the peak of that sine wave, now, fully equipped to appreciate the slightly shonky execution of Fireburst. Questionable incidences include, but are not limited to: losing a race because the game decides you're driving the wrong way as you cross the finish line; being explosively declared 'Out of Bounds' if you clip a wall; and having important features obscured by enemy name tags, water effects and lens flare. Lens flare: fine in a J.J. Abrams movie, not in a high-speed test of response.
At this point, our enjoyment degrades into chaotic swerves: some of the levels are fun to scoot around, but it's hard to get a full lobby. Split-screen is entertaining enough, but the challenges are frustratingly and funlessly tough. It runs the fun gamut from "screw-this annoying" to "okay, this isn't sooo bad". There's only one number that reflects this perfectly average experience.
Download Fireburst here for 800 MP.
Another flash in the oil pan
- Nifty boost/explode system
- Good range of tracks
- Destruction mode is dull
- Needed more playtesting
- Boring difficulty spikes