Fireside Review

Developer: Emergo Entertainment

Platforms: PC (Reviewed), Switch

Genre: Adventure, Strategy

Publisher: Nordcurrent Labs


Fireside is a narrative experience, an adventure RPG. This game was developed by Emergo Entertainment and published by Nordcurrent Labs. Fireside is quite a unique game which is not played similarly to other games. This review was done on the PC, but the game is also available for Switch.

Fireside is a single-player game where you start by setting sail on a boat. Upon this journey, a stormy night approaches you, and your boat hits against the harsh waves and ends up crashing. You find yourself on an island, playing as a blue merchant named Knick, where you are greeted by some people who help you on your trading journey. Fireside is a game where essentially you trade items with other people to help certain people with their quests, to which you can upgrade utilities/statues that will help you on your journey. 


The controls to Fireside are pretty simple to get used to. Mainly, when using the keyboard and mouse-controls are shown on the screen and at the beginning of the game, a tutorial is shown where it helps the player understand the different mechanics. Most of the interactions are done by clicking on the screen, which works smoothly with no delay. There was something which I wish was highlighted in the game, and that was skipping the walking animations when going from one campfire to another. Almost halfway through the game, I figured out that holding down either X or the spacebar would skip that animation, which would speed up the game even more. Personally, the walking animation was the most tedious part of the game because the character would walk so slowly and not being able to skip it was getting annoying. Besides that, all the other controls and interactions worked pretty well. 


The art style features a charming cartoon hand-drawn visual. Fireside is set in a doodle-like universe with bright-vibrant colours that almost match something out of a picture book. I like the subtlety of the visuals and the unique character designs, as it adds so much personality to the game. The game consists of plenty of adorable, quirky characters for you to interact with, each with an intriguing personality. The interactions between these characters make the game so much more fun because you get to carry out specific related trade tasks that allow you to understand the stories linked between the characters. The visuals add a great surrealness to the atmosphere, creating a cosy campfire environment that is surrounded by distinguished plants and items. The game captivates the feeling of a player going on a hike and trying to explore various ways to meet people and find resources. I enjoy the details of the resources and the trading, judge scale animation that allows the player to accurately balance a good trade. The animation and bodily expressions of the characters are quite nice as well and make the game so much more charming. Even though the characters are stationary, they have such intriguing designs that captivate the player. The soundtrack and sound effects are also so calming and create this inviting atmosphere to the game. The music consists of mellow instrumental melodies that feature strumming of guitars and subtle piano sounds. You can hear the hussing off the fire and the scribbling of the text between the characters. I love the atmosphere that is created in this game, and being able to walk from one campfire to another is such a stress-less exploration. The soundtrack truly compliments the sound effects in the game, which adds to the charm and makes the game feel more lively. 


The game offers soothing gameplay, which does not get too annoying but is a great pass time. Many trades, cooking and dialogue interactions can be carried out to generate ‘soul energy/tears’ that are essential to upgrading items back at your ‘house’. At first, making trades and trying to get the right items was a bit of a hassle, but once you start making some upgrades, the game starts to flow in place. I think, at first, I was a bit worried that in the span of three days, I would not be able to make the trades I needed, but after talking to different characters and slowly managing trades, I was able to progress with the story. I love the journal, which allows for the player to keep in check of items needed for upgrades and quests that need to be carried out. Personally, I found that the game does a good job of balancing the interactions that can be carried out at a campfire. For instance, upon arrival, the player has five actions, and this can be refuelled further by burning items into the fire. This mechanic is a smart way to get players to make good decisions to progress onward with the story. 


There is no doubt that the exploration and cooking aspects do not go hand in hand because the more items you make, the more value you can get out of trades and the recipes you can unlock. The crafting mechanic in this game is not overly complicated but rather simple, which makes it engaging for players and keeps the recipes straightforward. Being able to use your journal whilst interacting with the pot makes it more accessible for players and allows them to get the best value out of their trade. I also like that as you are walking from campfire to campfire, you can come across resources or little story segments where you can decide your path. This was such a charming addition to the game because it gives players some control over more exploration during the walking animation. For instance, a journal will pop up narrating your interaction with a vine, and you can choose between options that can help you take a shortcut or not. This decision-making can help you fill up your ‘soul energy/tears’ that are useful for storing items and upgrading. The game does require players to strategize, but I found it to be not so overwhelming. 


Unlike other exploring games, Fireside is quite the laid-back one and allows players to settle in whilst making seemingly endless trades and meeting quirky characters. I believe this game will be even better on the Switch as you can play it from the comfort of your bed or dock into the TV and enjoy its simple yet intriguing gameplay. My only drawback to the game was that there was no manual save, so you would need to return to the ‘spirit realm’ for the game to save, which sometimes could get annoying if you have upgraded the shrine to consist of many more days. Fireside is a perfect game to spend a couple of hours on and is a game that you can easily pick up whenever you want. I enjoyed the progression, the story and the aesthetic, which brought much charm and radiance to the game. 


If you are looking to play a delightful, lightened game where you hike through several campfires, meet quirk personalities, make satisfactory trades, and cook up recipes, then this game is just for you. It offers charming visuals with a soft soundtrack that can put you in a relaxing mood. The game is enjoyable for several hours and has a decent-paced progression that will keep players from stressing out on this aesthetic journey. Therefore, be sure to check out Fireside!

Overall: 8/10

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