Seeing its release earlier in the week on February 9th, indie game Firewatch has taken many players and critics by pleasant surprise. Following the vein of many recent indie games such as Gone Home and Life is Strange, Firewatch seems to captivate many because of its gripping and compelling narrative rather than action oriented gameplay.
Developed by San Francisco based studio Campo Santo and published with Panic, the game is also helmed by Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead leads, Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman. Firewatch stands as both studios’ debut game. And what a gem! Receiving an 8.5/10 with Polygon, 9.3/10 with IGN, and 4/5 with Metacritic, the game has nothing but praise popping like, well, wildfire.
Taking place in Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming, in 1989, players traverse from the first person POV of fire lookout, Henry. Players are subjected to the themes of isolation, invasion, stalking, and suspicion. Henry has no contact with anyone else in the game, other than Delilah on his trusty walkie-talkie (reminiscent of that precarious situation in the first Bioshock). Slow, delicious tension builds throughout the game, leaving many critics to claim, “Firewatch is the video game equivalent of a page-turner.”
Firewatch is a weighty, addicting mystery, taking place in a stunning backdrop of evergreen forest during a dry, hot summer. Music and graphics have been given high marks. The story has been described as heartrending, with many reviewers comparing the opening to that of the Pixar movie UP. Players have the ability to search for clues by interacting with their environment and the objects found in it–which also helps reveal new areas to explore. The game shifts from day to night, as long as players complete all their objectives from that day.
Be warned, this game is meant for mature players–there is adult language and conversation! Perhaps not the best for gamers with young copilots.
If you are a fan of indie games heavy with good writing and characters that drive you forwards, this might be the perfect game for you!
Out now on Steam for Windows, OS X, and Linux, as well as the digital storefront for Playstation 4. Firewatch is offered for purchase at $19.99 USD. A version of the game with the OST is selling for $24.99, as well as all DLC starting at $5.99.