I sat on my bed listening to The Toadies wail out their hit song "I Burn" on iTunes and thought to myself, "They're right!" Fire is bright! Fire is clean! Never felt so alive.
It was a rough day though and I didn't feel very alive; I was beat. I wanted to sit around a bonfire with loved ones, soothed by the crackling sounds and easy conversation. However, I faced the ugly truth — city life doesn't offer much escape or the opportunity to sit around such a fire, and the frantic pace never leaves enough free time to truly unwind. I turned the music volume up and stewed in my frustration.
Then, my iPod came to the rescue; I downloaded a new game called Burn it All - Journey to the Sun, a gripping, well-designed puzzle game by Pastagames and BulkyPix. It let me pour the pent-up stress from the day into my touchscreen in a fast-paced, challenging, and beautifully designed way. I was, and remain, hooked.
This app is enthralling because the gamer controls the unique character — a little flame whose sole mission is to burn all the pieces of rope and various obstructions (like demonic bats and wooden shapes) in each level while avoiding harmful, intuitive enemies, such as water dripping from icy stalactites and sometimes helpful (see: blowtorch effect), but mostly frustrating steam vents. The worst villain of all, however, is the insistent timer which counts down when your fireball's time is up. There are unlimited lives, but the sense of urgency and motivation to get through the worlds doesn't die down with each victorious win or annoying failure. Instead, one feels driven to return to old turf and perfect the score, even after completing all the offered levels. An achievement badge is unlocked every now and then to spur on the elated and downtrodden alike.
The stages increase in difficulty as one progresses through the worlds (toward the ultimate goal of the sun), but several exciting variants are added here and there to keep the game interesting and addictive. There are several different flame types with specific talents (my favorite is the green one that seemingly burns through everything with ease), and distinct ropes also gradually unlock, each burning at individual rates to maximize strategy and keep things fresh. Lastly, there are a few thrilling explosions and a some surprises I wouldn't dare ruin as your fiery ball of deceiving cuteness travels along its smiling way.
I downloaded Burn it all - Journey to the Sun when it first hit the App Store for free (full version is an affordable $0.99), and immediately became enamored with the adorable, personified flames, numerous puzzle possibilities (over 100!) and glinting diamonds as rewards for completing each stage in record time. There are four worlds currently to conquer, but World Five is highly anticipated and set for release in upcoming weeks. Some exciting new features hinted at include 25 new puzzles with Elevator Gameplay (I'm intrigued), Magic Keys to collect, assisted Control Mode, some 3D/4D effects for 3GS phone and iPad 2 owners, language conversion modes (and some slightly outdated extraterrestrial ones), and more.