Fire Tonight is a short but sweet romantic adventure

Posted on August 18, 2021

Released last week, Fire Tonight is a game that you may very well want to check out if you find yourself after an experience you can easily have in one sitting. With a monstrous fire ripping across the city, your goal is to make it to your love and maybe do some reminiscing along the way.

The appeal of Fire Tonight comes from witnessing the nature of the relationship in itself. With a simplistic and not so memorable puzzle design, I cheesily found myself rooting for Maya and Devin, eager to see it through and witness the sweethearts reunite. The opening, which depicts the couple on a phone call recounting previous dates, teases this out. Here is such a simple, throwaway scene in an already brief game, but it was enough to invest me, even with the jank and not so creative puzzle design.

Gameplay requests players navigate a fire struck city. Controlling Maya, she’ll make her way through alleyways, navigating through mazes of doors between buildings and in one instance race through a busy city street on rollerblades. What’s on offer here is, unfortunately, a little shallow, but forgivable when it’s clear Fire Tonight’s scope is infinitesimal.

For Maya’s segments, the gameplay is largely summarised by working out just how to get to the endpoint of the vignette style levels. Moving dumpsters to get to higher places, nabbing keys to access areas and sneaking past cops are just some of what’ll be in your path. However, it’s still that level of shallowness that I spoke of. The deepest these solutions become is when you obtain a walkman that somehow lets you walk through some of the fire, clearing routes. Don’t ask me how. That’s just the power of retro.

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Fire Tonight offers a sweet romance along with a retro pop-filled world

In-between all these levels, players get to control Devin. Largely, it’s just looking around his apartment, interacting with items in the environment. This is such a curious interlude to offer between levels but I actually kind of love it. Devin truly is just a guy, sitting around and talking to himself, wondering when his girlfriend will arrive. Me too, dude.

Fire Tonight is also invested in upping the nostalgia, providing music quite akin to ’90s synth-pop. The couple will talk about their record and cassette collection. Devin can slump on the couch like a real slacker, firing up his console that is very intent on resembling a Sega CD. On his coffee table is a tv guide that very clearly has a grainy picture of Will Smith in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Throughout her journey, Maya will get sucked into the music playing on her walkman. You’d be remiss if you didn’t get strong nostalgic feelings for the ’90s, feeling right in place in a Pop music video. That’s quite a nice feat to achieve in such a small project.

Currently on sale on Steam for less than $7 and running at less than an hour in length, Fire Tonight is a nice getaway from the clutter of busy video game releases in 2021. Knowing exactly when to bow out and just how much world to introduce you to, it’s a game worth playing if you have a spare few Nintendo points or dollars on your Steam wallet. It’s not perfect but if you can forgive simplicity then it’s an experience worth picking up to enjoy some sweet, sweet vibes.