Fireburst (XBLA) Review


Needs more fuel on the fire.

There are traditional racing games, and then there are racing games with a gimmick. Fireburst sits in the latter category, although its gimmick is a bit peculiar. You see, this is a racing game where the player’s car can blast a shot of fire from all sides, roasting fellow participants. Granted, the characters in the game are so annoying that it definitely feels like the right thing to do; the problem lies in the fact that none of it is ever very fun, and that is hard for me to say considering on paper Fireburst sounds like a pure riot of entertainment.

On the surface nothing seems amiss with Fireburst. The traditional racing modes are present, and there is even a destruction derby style mode tossed in for good measure. Random racing is cool because it gave me a new car, track and personality every time I selected it, and the challenges have a nice variety to them. All of that said, none of it ever made me want to play more. Track design is passable, but the floaty handling and unpredictable camera had me flailing off walls constantly.

The fire mechanic is also broken on several levels. I could mow down enemies without much hesitation, leaving me racing alone ahead of the pack far before the race was over. Tap up the difficulty a smidge though, and I was left racing at the end of the pack, never catching up. There is no balance in the challenge.

For those wanting an online experience…stop right there. As you can see in the video, no one is playing this online. The leaderboards are barren, and finding opponents is simply not happening. I would love to tell you how it performed, but I could never once find anyone to play with. Ever.

I wish the game looked as good as these screenshots.

Visually the game looks alright in screenshots, but when playing, it gave off this generic haze over the visuals that I could never get past. Water effects splashing on screen are neat once, and annoying every time after that. I would like to tell you that the characters are not annoying, I would LIKE to tell you that. Music is also lackluster, though much better than my emo rendition of whatever song is playing in that video.

For $10 it is sometimes hard to critique a game too much, but in the case of Fireburst there is just nothing here to warrant a purchase. The floaty controls kill the fun, the annoying characters force me to mute and the broken mechanics siphon the fun out of what should be a killer concept. Factor in that no one is online playing it and you have an experience not worth having.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Ken McKown
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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