This is a game I liked enough to beat, but I’m hesitant to give it a full-blown recommendation. Blue Fire has a lot of issues. It’s been touted as a cross between Hollow Knight (a game I couldn’t get into) and Zelda (a series I obviously love), so it’s no wonder my feelings are mixed. The main problem I have with the game is that the combat is clunky and pits you against unfair enemies. The second area of the game is particularly frustrating, because that’s when you fight floating ice monsters whose stun/freeze attacks do a huge amount of damage. Worse yet, it takes your character a full second to consume a healing item, and if you have to move before he’s finished, it cancels the healing. So you’re pretty much screwed in some boss battles that never leave you an opening to heal.
What takes the edge off is the fact that you can find/earn lots of upgrades. I’m a sucker for platforming and exploration, so I really enjoyed that aspect of the game. There are two towns with NPCs who dole out side quests, as well as several voids scattered throughout the world that feel like Super Mario challenge levels. These voids are the only way to get health upgrades, though, and some of them are pretty devious. I eventually had to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to max out my health meter. But you can also get upgrades like a double jump or double dash that allow you to cheese your way through parts of these voids. I appreciated that the platforming became easier over time instead of harder, as is usually tradition.
Unfortunately, it’s really easy to miss out on important upgrades due to the way the world is built. This is one big, interconnected castle a la Metroid, but you’re given no map to help you get your bearings. I walked right past the room with the projectile attack upgrade early on, which would have come in handy against those flying ice monsters in Part 2. I did go back and find it after fast travel was unlocked, but there was another early skill—a spin attack—that I never found. The loading screen hints frequently alluded to this spin attack, and yet I somehow beat the entire game without it. On one hand, I guess it’s nice to have a game that doesn’t force your path so much (ahem, Zelda), but that also really screws with the difficulty if you’re not careful.