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Fire 'N Ice (NES) artwork

Fire 'N Ice (NES) review


"You’ll likely find yourself snoozing through the first couple worlds, but soon after, you’ll find yourself scratching your head as formerly cakewalk puzzles turn into headache-inducing brain-busters. "



Coolmint Island was once a peaceful place where happy winter fairies lived out their days in freezing comfort with not a care in the world. Then, one day, an evil wizard named Druidle sent scores of flame monsters into the land for no reason at all except to make poor wittle innocent fairies miserable.

If the evil flame monsters remain, then the tranquil icy paradise will surely melt away, leaving its hapless residents without shelter!

But wait! All is not lost! Dana, a young wizard-in-training, comes to the rescue, handpicked by the Fairy Queen! Granted the power of ice magic, our novice wizard must travel far and wide and conquer the evil that has suddenly and mysteriously plagued his remote island.

Yet there is a catch to your noble goal. Instead of battling this malicious foe in fantastic Harry Potter-esque wizarding duels, you must outwit your curiously stationary enemy. That’s right. Fire ‘N Ice is a puzzle game. A challenging puzzle game with little middle ground.

Using your wand, create or destroy slippery ice blocks to defeat these monsters. However, because of Dana’s amateur skills, he can only shoot his magical icemaker diagonally down in either direction. Further, he cannot climb up a surface more than one block at a time, forcing you to utilize that woefully unused organ between your ears to complete your mission.

You’ll likely find yourself snoozing through the first couple worlds, but soon after, you’ll find yourself scratching your head as formerly cakewalk puzzles turn into headache-inducing brain-busters.

Presented with snaking pipes that take you to new parts of a level, odd jars that hold fire eternally and melt any ice block thrown at them, and evermore complicated level designs, even destroying just one flame can be difficult. You will retry the levels repeatedly, possibly becoming irritated at your apparent ineptitude as the successful route lies tantalizingly beyond your grasp. You see exactly what you need to do… yet… you just… can’t… get… there. Then you growl in frustration and step away for a bit. Returning, you uncover the solution and cheer in joyous celebration as you realize one solid, memorable fact: “I’m smarter than the computer!” A great well of satisfaction rises within, and you tackle the next level, whereupon the whole process starts anew!

As your journey through the wintry fairyland progresses, you’ll encounter some puzzles that are just impossible. Fortunately, with the ability to attempt any level of any world (save bosses) in any order, you can always come back later. Of course, since the difficulty advances a little with each progressive level, your task won’t become any easier.

But who said challenge was a bad thing? Tested enough and the mind becomes a master strategist, the champion of puzzles. Eventually the toughies will crack under the weight of your enormous brain, and you’ll feel forever content. Savor the moment when you defeat the boss of a world, for his puzzle is often hardest. And when the sonorous bells chime sweet melody upon a successful clearance, you can rejoice knowing that you’ve come just one world closer to casting out the nefarious evil.

Run Dana! Go and free your people!

Rating: 8/10

wolfqueen001's avatar
Community review by wolfqueen001 (May 19, 2008)

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EmP posted September 23, 2009:

I initially thought you fell into the trap here of throwing too many words trying to be cute and ploughing effort into the overly-cutesy plot of a puzzle game. BUT I CHANGED MY MIND! Upon further examination, I gleamed that a lot of the information offered early on serves dual functions. Yes, you barf sarco-glitter at the sugary sweet plotlines, but you intermix this with cold hard facts that teaches the reader without being obvious. It’s clever writing.

What doesn’t work so well is the rapid fire approach of all the small paragraphs being around the same length and roughly sharing an exclusive structure. I also wonder why you say that every puzzle is only solvable by walking away from the game were, upon return, it’s always cake to then beat. This doesn’t sound like a good idea! I understand what you’re trying to say, but the odd insistence that you need to do this all the time baffles me. I am baffled.

The conclusion screams “Just let this review end!”, but, still, I enjoyed the read. It might not have been your most comfortable review to date, but it was subtly clever and did a good job of making an 8-bit puzzle game sound interesting. You gain 4 praise points and 2 gold.
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wolfqueen001 posted September 23, 2009:

Haha. I'm surprised you changed your mind about the start of this, actually. I shudder every time I read that and think "Oh, God... The CHEESE!", but hey; I did sort of write it like that on purpose. XD

Anyway, as to your criticism, it sounds like most of your issues just involve how I word things. I'm assuming you're making fun of my use of metaphor, as well. =P That's fine and completely reasonable. I honestly probably had a hard time trying to say what I wanted to about that, anyway. But the point I was trying to get across - which you say you understood, albeit after deciphering - is that for the trickier puzzles, sometimes taking a second look helps. Maybe I'll just say that instead.

Anyway, thanks. Puzzles are hard to review. That it worked at all makes me happy.
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fleinn posted September 25, 2009:

This
"You’ll likely find yourself snoozing through the first couple worlds, but soon after, you’ll find yourself scratching your head as formerly cakewalk puzzles turn into headache-inducing brain-busters."
..is a great sentence.

But I'd try (and fail :) ) to come up with a different start ("Coolmin Island was once"). And avoid the "Presented with" break. Specially the last one stops the text a little bit. But I like the review, and the focus on wrapper context over the details. If I was to be critical (which I always am), I'd say that it doesn't leave you with an impression of how the game actually plays in the end, even though you describe a little bit. This: "odd jars that hold fire eternally and melt any ice block thrown at them," could've been towards the end, maybe.
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wolfqueen001 posted September 25, 2009:

Thanks. Funnily enough, the line you liked was the one EmP criticized (I think), haha.

Anyway, I know it's not perfect. I wrote this review more than a year ago, so I never expected much, especially since it's a goofy puzzle game. I might play around with it if I ever feel like editing it... but right now, I'm fine with it. I'll keep these issues in mind, though, for whenever I do go back and take another look at it.

Honestly, though; it's kind of hard to describe how it plays other than what I've done just because of the game's nature. But, we'll see.

Probably should at least fix that gender mistake at the beginning, though.... xP

Thanks again, anyway; I appreciate the feedback. Truthfully, I never expect my reviews to get feedback, especially not ones for goofy puzzle games or whose quality of writing might be lacking, so it's always appreciated.
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EmP posted September 25, 2009:

Foolish sidekick! My complaint was the way you word this makes it sound this happened in every single level in the game!

Pay attention.
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wolfqueen001 posted September 25, 2009:

Haha. Goofball. I told you your points were awkwardly phrased and difficult to understand. =P

EDIT: I did realize that that's what you meant earlier. However, I thought you were also criticizing my use of metaphor, to which I had referred in my previous post.
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fleinn posted September 26, 2009:

"Honestly, though; it's kind of hard to describe how it plays other than what I've done just because of the game's nature. But, we'll see."

:D yeah. I know what you mean. "Raziel spends most of his days slaving for The Old God, stacking boxes on top of each other while fending off the Hylden invasion". :/

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