Firegirl Hack’n Splash DX (Xbox One) Review with stream

A unique roguelite firefighting platformer, Firegirl Hack’n Splash Rescue DX has an eye catching visual style but the steep difficulty and slow progression can make your rage just as passionate as that burning building.

Playing as the daughter of a great fireman, it is your job to douse fires, bust through blocked paths with your ax, and save stranded people and pets. It might seem a bit generic at first but eventually the story takes a turn as a fire god is reawakened and the player needs to find a way to save a burning city while vanquishing an ancient arsonist.

The meat of the game comes from navigating burning buildings, using twin-stick controls to combat fire demons. Your hose also doubles as a jetpack but at the expense of water. In fact, each blast of water needs to be taken into consideration since there is a very limited quantity, especially when first starting. Occasionally, the player might find a water refill icon or can resupply from a busted toilet, but it is possible to run out juice mid-mission.  This almost always results in a fiery death and sometimes locks the player from progressing or backtracking. Since each mission is random, stages are not tightly designed and could result in a cheap or unfair end. Also, as if the limited water supply wasn’t enough, the player has to compete against a time limit.

When at the main firehouse hub world, the player can eventually spend rescue money to increase abilities. While this RPG element is welcomed, it rather grindy as each upgrade and unlock takes a significant amount of cash. The thing is, you are going to die a lot as this is tough game. Each death requires the payment of a hospital bill, draining almost all the cash you earned on that mission to that point. It is a shame because there is quite a bit to unlock and upgrade but that carrot is always dangled too far in front of the player’s face.

The star of the show is easily the creative 2.5D visual style. It looks like this game is running on Square’s HD-2D engine as the 2D sprite work is gorgeous but placed on a 3D background that looks 2D-ish.  Since this is a side-scroller, the camera obviously follows the player but there are times when it pivots to provide a better angle of what’s ahead.  The problem comes from the lack of a map or radar system. Often times the player is presented with a branching path with no indication on which on the correct way. One path might lead to a trapped puppy, the other might cause a flame barrier in the doorway that prevents backtracking. Since the player is always competing against a timer and super limited water supply, not being able to quickly and accurately decide a course of action is a random, tedious hassle.

After some time, it becomes repetitive as the player is basically playing through the same fire filled building only with a different, random configuration.  Sometimes rooms contain dead ends and no collectables too. 

I feel like Firegirl has an interesting concept and an even cooler visual style but ultimately becomes a slog once some time has been spent putting out a few fires. The repetitive mission structure, the high cost to unlock any new or worthwhile, and the random stage design that is often more unfair than anything, makes this a fire pit you’ll want to smother. 

SCORE: 5.5/10

Also Try: The Firemen 2: Pete and Danny  

Not As Good As: Luigi’s Mansion 3

Wait For It: the next game with a jetpack

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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