Well, there’s a hot wind blowing tonight in the east , And I heard that the park is filled tonight with police , On the radio there’s nothing but a man saying to stay insideFire Tonight – Information Society
Well, I remember what you said on the telephone, That you didn’t feel like it was safe to stay alone, And you would get yourself to me if you could find a way across the line
But there’s fire tonight on your side of town, Orange light in the sky without a sound, Fire tonight on your side of town, I watch and wait for you to come around
Inspired by the song of the same name by 90’s pop band Information Society – Fire Tonight is a narrative puzzle game
about a couple separated by an event and trying to find their way back to each other.
Despite being set in the 90’s (Hey, way to make me feel old! – Ed), Fire Tonight was a game that really resonated with me and well anyone who knows what it feels like to be separated from their loved one and struggle to reconnect with them physically.
The game starts off with a conversation between Devin and Maya – a young couple who are on the phone together reviewing how they met and the different places they have visited. The phone cuts and Maya immediately insists on going over to Devin’s house. In the age of no mobile phones or even the internet this sort of behaviour does not seem so rash or extreme; as outside of payphones there was no other way to immediately connect with each other.
I met with Simon Paquette,CEO/Creative Director at Riptide Games, at PAX East Online. I asked him why they’d chosen to set the game in the 90s: “We specifically set the game in this time period because we didn’t want them to be able to communicate via mobile phone, or the internet. We also wanted to base a lot of the themes, ideas and experiences from growing up in that time period.“
Fire Tonight: Old School Vibes
The game certainly has an old-school feel when you play – with references to VHS / a pay phone on every corner and using a cassette recorder. Even with the ability to dig around in dumpsters and to look for batteries to keep your cassette recorders playing cool tunes. Making of that what you will.
Maya’s adventure to Devin’s apartment is fraught with difficulty as you traverse the landscape encountering various different obstacles – fire being the most predominant barrier from allowing you to progress from one area to another. There are Police officers who also halt your progress and if you are caught by their flashlight this will reset the gameplay to the most recent check point.
In light of this gif let’s share my only main criticism of Fire Tonight. The camera. I would have loved for the screen to follow the character; it is sometimes a hinderance moving the camera around and not being able to see where you’re going. In stealth sequences this can occasionally be frustrating, being sent back to the last checkpiont because the camera didn’t want to play nice.
The point of view switches from Maya to Devin across the course of the game, who is preparing his apartment for Maya’s impending arrival in keeping with the lyrics of the song.
Simon Paquette added “The lyrics of the Song Fire Tonight, really influenced us in creating this game. We are very fortunate that the band gave us their blessing“
A guy stuck and waiting for a girl to save him was an interesting, and welcome, twist on the usual trope of a guy chasing a girl who needs saving.
Personally, I thought this was a great game – a very cute premise with two lovers trying to reconnect. The mechanics of pointing and clicking are very straight-forward which makes it really simple to jump into, but still provides a decent challenge.
Every level has a different area to explore and get through – you meet different people on your journey as Maya, some of which provide valuable items or fill in the story from their own unique viewpoints things to you. Everything Maya does sheds light on how her relationship is with Devin, what it feels like to move to a new city and not have any family. These are real issues that a lot of people including myself can relate to. With a small cast, both characters are fleshed out very well and switching between the two keeps the story from becoming one dimensional.
I had a lot of fun guiding Maya through alleys and over rooftops while evading the blazing pink inferno and police roadblocks. Some gentle environmental puzzles; clearing obstacles from Maya’s path and staying out of the cops’ line of sight, coupled with a relatable story of love in trying times made me instantly warm to the flames of Fire Tonight.
Fire Tonight is out on August 12 2021 on Steam and Nintendo Switch.