Fireburst

Fireburst is the first game I’ve reviewed in a while that I can literally summarize with one fell swoop in a single, condescending sentence: a poor, poor man’s Motorstorm. And yet calling this ridiculously unpolished, uninspired and sloppy racer that would actually undermine many of the faults that you’ll notice with this arcade-racer mere minutes after launching it. The driving is wonky, the visuals maddeningly inconsistent, the gameplay mechanics entirely unoriginal and the experience as a whole completely unremarkable.

The best way to get the full view on Fireburst’s many issues is by way of its “League” mode, which is the closest thing resembling a "Story" mode here. In theory, this mode holds a lot of potential. You’re tasked with a series of trials that have you striving to complete challenges (boosting without overheating from one checkpoint to another, complete a track under a time limit, cool down your car before exploding and so forth) and unlock new characters and cars to use in the other modes.

Unfortunately, the novel attempts at providing variety here are entirely futile. If anything, the League mode is more susceptible to full-on game crashes and crippling bugs than any other mode and highlights the game’s cumbersome controls in all of their glory. Moreover, I actually stumbled upon one challenge that I keep failing continuously with no clear-and-cut reason as to why. The game doesn’t provide any feedback as to what I am doing wrong, so either this challenge in question is glitched, or simply forces you to guess how to fulfill it.

And yet, even if the game wasn’t half-broken and the controls not unwieldy, the game just wouldn’t have had much going for it. For starters, the game’s primary mechanic centers on boosting. Boost too much, and your vehicle will overheat and explode, and the best way to cool it down is to drive through puddles of water or to hit the water barrels randomly scattered about the track. Sounds familiar? Motorstorm pioneered this mechanic and Fireburst blatantly rips it off. Moreover, every single track also has exploding barrels strewn about them, so enjoy trying to dodge these objects with the game’s unresponsive controls – steering just doesn’t feel right and even after adjusting to the control’s sense of clunkiness, navigating these dull tracks is a tedious bore.

Outside of the game’s League mode are instant action quick races, custom races as well as a Destruction mode that has you ramming into opponents in an attempt to wreck their vehicle. Trying to line up your dune buggy, truck or sports car in a valiant effort to ram into an opponent is a hilariously difficult endeavor, since the wonky driving model makes it nigh-on impossible. Also, the game has an online mode, but there were literally no one playing the game as of this review – thus rendering the mode useless.

Moreover, the visuals in the game are incredibly inconsistent. While the scenery and lighting is occasionally attractive they are buried under a rut of graphical quirks. The fire effects are so blurry and poorly textured that you’ll be forced to squint in order to make them out. This, coupled with the game’s jagged textures, random pop-ins, frame-rate stutters and other blemishes make for a game that can’t be considered anything else but unpolished. The sound-design also suffers – sound effects are one-dimensional and the soundtrack gets randomly cut off at an alarming rate. In other words, the track-designs and the gameplay mechanics find themselves constantly buried under the game’s technical blunders.

You will hard-pressed to extract any enjoyment from Fireburst. While it has some solid ideas in place, its potential is completely marred by its maddeningly frustrating technical issues that rear their head on a constant basis. But even if the game had been perfectly functional, the sloppy controls and unremarkable mechanics conspire to make for a tedious, frustrating, broken mess of a game that aren’t worthy of your $10 in any way, shape or form.

To put it bluntly, don’t bother with Fireburst.