“Have you ever wondered if your choices really matter?”
While the very first line of Fire Tonight poses such an existential question to players right from the get-go, the narrative game isn’t, ironically, a choice-based title. All you really have to choose are which cassette tapes to pop into your stereo or what to do while you’re waiting for your significant other to come over to your apartment. Still, while the first line can be a little misleading, it does set up the narrative hook of the whole game, which is just how much you’re willing to go through just to be with the one you love.
In Fire Tonight, you play as Maya or Devin alternately—two youngsters trying to find their way to each other as the city burns around you. You’ll literally go through fire just to be with each other, because if someone can understand why you’re posing a philosophical question about choices that matter over the phone in the middle of the night, then that’s a keeper.
Thankfully, you don’t have to suffer through torture just to be with each other again when the line goes dead, as Fire Tonight is a pretty short game, clocking in at just a little under an hour for the whole thing. Normally, I’d feel like an hour is simply too short for a PC game, but in this case, 60 minutes of trying to be with the one you love feels just right. I suppose it’s the subject matter of the game that excuses its short playtime—I’d personally get frustrated if I had to go through tons of levels and chapters with the sole purpose of trying to get to my S.O.’s apartment in one night.
You’ll literally go through fire just to be with each other, because if someone can understand why you’re posing a philosophical question about choices that matter over the phone in the middle of the night, then that’s a keeper.
As for the gameplay itself, you’ll have to make your way through the neighborhood while dodging cops who only want to keep you safe from a city ablaze. Getting caught by their cone-shaped line of sight means restarting a few steps back where you came from, which isn’t really too much of a punishment. You simply have to try again with better timing, as you make your way across rooftops and atop dumpsters that lead to magically relocating holes in the wall (this one can’t be explained by science, unfortunately).
Of course, the main antagonist of the story is the fire itself, but fret not—putting on your headphones and playing funky tunes from your Walkman can magically make the fire disappear (don’t ask).
By the way, the whole game is analog nostalgia galore, from the cassette players to the rollerblades to the synth-filled background music, which, I feel, is the strength of this game. I honestly wanted to just hang out in certain levels just so I could listen to the beats in the background. You can also read every newspaper headline for some quirky Easter eggs, as well as try to spot all the sneakers hanging from telephone poles in the streets. You’ll also have the chance to wind an unraveled mixtape using a pencil (this game is not for kids).
Anyway, in alternating chapters, you’ll play as Devin, the clueless boyfriend who has no idea that Maya’s literally going through the fires of hell across town just to get to him. While you’re playing as Devin, you can listen to music, play pixelated games on your TV (they actually work!), or reflect on your questionable meal choices in your apartment. You’ll obviously get to meet Maya again since that’s how the game ends, but I won’t spoil just how you’ll get there.
Fire Tonight | Final Thoughts
Overall, apart from a few annoying mishaps because of clunky controls (I sometimes ended up entering a door I didn’t want to enter because the mouse and keyboard combinations aren’t too intuitive), I can’t find too many reasons to complain about this game. It was definitely not what I expected when I started playing, but it was a pleasant surprise.
The short gameplay coupled with the gorgeous art (the cut scenes, while few, are just lovely to look at) make for a totally enjoyable experience, and with the funky score serenading me all throughout, it’s hard not to want to dig up my old Walkman and drown myself in nostalgia (and young love) too.
TechRaptor reviewed Fire Tonight on Steam with a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on the Nintendo Switch.
- Groovy Soundtrack
- Gorgeous Artwork
- Appropriately Short Gameplay
- Clunky Mouse And Keyboard Controls
- Puzzles Aren’t Challenging Enough For Puzzle Aficionados
- An Hour Of Gameplay Might Not Be Enough Bang For Your Buck