Blue Fire Umbra

When Blue Fire launched earlier this year, it reminded folks of The Legend of Zelda and Hollow Knight, with a little Soulslike and Metroidvania sprinkled in for good measure. It was an awesome concept — so much so that I grabbed the game right around launch. While I loved things about it, though, it didn’t really play right. The controls were solid enough, but the game felt a little off. I played seven hours of it before I realized I just wasn’t having fun and ultimately decided to stop.

Robi Studios and Graffiti Games have since released an update for Blue Fire that’s meant to address balancing and performance issues, among other things. I’ve been wanting to revisit the game for some time now, because even though it didn’t click with me, I truly appreciated what it did. I’m glad I waited as long as I did, because the Sword of Steel Update truly breathes new life into Blue Fire and has officially made it one of my favorite games of the year.

Firstly, that “off” feeling I experienced previously with Blue Fire is almost entirely gone. The game plays a lot smoother than it did and feels much more polished. Though the controls were decent previously, everything is tighter and more responsive now, which is great considering there’s a lot of precision platforming in the game.

Speaking of which, the platforming challenge rooms — called Voids here — are much more enjoyable now. They were kind of fun before, but I was always wrestling with the camera and character controls. Though Voids haven’t been altered in terms of their design, the control and balance fixes provided by the Sword of Steel Update make these platforming sequences so much better overall.

Blue Fire Void

It should be noted that some awkward camera issues still pop up from time to time. Depending on how much is going on and how many obstacles are put in front, above, and all around you in the Void challenges, you might have a hard time positioning the camera in the best angle. Sadly, that still happens in 3D platformers, even these days, and Blue Fire is not immune to that. Thankfully, it’s nothing game-breaking, but there were a few Void challenges I opted to leave unfinished.

Other fixes made to Blue Fire with the Sword of Steel update include combat improvements. While I never had a problem with the combat before, it definitely seems like hit detection has seen an upgrade, which is always nice. That’s not to say the challenge has been diminished. Bosses and stronger enemies are still tough, but the action is much more polished now. This makes these encounters both more meaningful and more exciting.

The Sword of Steel Update is a stroke of awesomeness. It fixes the polish, performance, and balance issues that made me put down Blue Fire in the first place. Since downloading the update, I was finally having so much fun with the game that I ended up seeing it through to the end. The results was a 12-hour experience that, barring a few minor gripes here and there, was an absolute joy to play.

Blue Fire Stoneheart City

If you’ve been on the fence about picking up Blue Fire, or if you stopped playing because you were having the same issues I was having with it, rest assured the game is finally where it needs to be to deliver on its high potential. You’ll get to experience a rad action-adventure game that’s sometimes reminiscent of Wind Waker and Hollow Knight, while still delivering unique moments of its own.

Oh, and that music — chef’s kiss!

I was really bummed out about not loving Blue Fire the first time around. The game has a great look, awesome music, an intriguing world, and incredible gameplay ideas. It just wasn’t where it needed to be at launch. Just about half-a-year later, though, the Sword of Steel Update takes Blue Fire to the next level.

Blue Fire Combat Gameplay

It’s awesome to see developers like Robi Studios listening to players’ concerns and putting in the work to address the things that needed fixing. Blue Fire is all the better for it, and in its current, updated state, the game is an easy recommendation for anyone looking for something that’s a dope combination of Zelda-like and Soulslike with its own interesting world and lore.

Oh, and there’s even some free content for Blue Fire in the works, so there’s that to look forward to!

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