Firefighters: Airport Fire Department has all the promise to deliver on quite a cool idea and a lot of younger kids love the idea of playing as a firefighter so could be a big success. However, this game fails to deliver on the simple things and in some ways overcomplicates too much, to the extent that it leaves the player almost frustrated at some stages, especially at the beginning.
Firefighters: Airport Fire Department features only one game mode and it is easy to tell from the main menu as it is very simplistic and easy to navigate around. The game itself is played in first-person, which in some way helps the player live out their desire of being a firefighter. The game follows a kind of Sim structure that allows the player to navigate around the fire station and generally work as a firefighter, but it takes this structure a little too literally, with some unnecessary additions (the chief even mentions about going to the toilet at one point?). UIG Entertainment, a German-based game development company, created this game, and it follows the same core elements as many of their other titles. However, they seem to miss out on a few minor details when translating to English. For example, the chief has a German title on the back of his t-shirt which one can only assume means “Firefighter”. But it is little things like this that take away from the game.
Initially when the game is loaded up, the menu is very easy to navigate around and is user-friendly. In addition to this, the menu graphic is pleasant and it would have been great if they had translated some of this into the gameplay. In the beginning, you have a choice to either go through the tutorial or skip it altogether. Normally I would advise anyone to go through with the tutorial, especially if you are a new player, but in this case, it may actually be better just to skip it. The tutorial takes an unnecessary amount of time to go through. The chief introduces you to the department and then proceeds to give you a tour around the fire station itself. The first sign of frustration comes with the chief himself, who seems to take an eternity to walk around the station and adopts a kind of weird swagger while doing so. He takes you around every section of the department (toilets included) and from time to time text boxes appear giving you information, all of which again doesn’t really add anything to the game.
While I played the game, I ended up quitting the tutorial because I lost the chief (which is very easy to do as he and everyone else in the building look exactly the same) and spent about 10 minutes trying to find him with no success. Also to note, the NPCs tend to walk through each other and in some cases objects.
With regards to controls, they are pretty basic and follow natural button selection for a first-person game. The sensitivity is quite high, but as with most games, it is easily fixable via settings when paused. Driving vehicles is a little more complicated, but there are clearly marked controls at the bottom of the screen. Note that if you want to change from first-person to third when driving a vehicle, this can be done easily by pressing the right analogue stick. Again there does seem to be some unnecessary controls like turning on the siren, but being fair to the game in this case, that probably adds to the effect. However, there is a display on the top right of the screen that shows the time taken so far and also some sort of points system that I wasn’t able to work out as I had to skip through the tutorial (you know why!). You use a fire extinguisher from time to time and it is also easy to use this as well, a bit of left trigger action, as you would expect.
The graphics for this game genuinely look like something you would see on a Playstation One or another first generation console. There are many smartphone apps that could challenge the graphics in this game (see for yourself). The graphics inside the vehicles are much the same, very basic, but somehow seem better than when you are aimlessly roaming around, although you can drive through certain objects on the map. The soundtrack for the game is quite interesting. It has a kind of sci-fi, or maybe horror style tune to it, or potentially another genre, but certainly doesn’t seem to match this game. The one cool thing about the graphics inside vehicles is that you can see the fuel gauge, which is an unusually nice touch. Map-wise, the map is an airport runway (which you would expect) and again is quite basic.
Firefighters: Airport Fire Department takes such a long time to get into that I would be surprised if anyone would play it past the first ten minutes, never mind play it again at all.
Firefighters: Airport Fire Department has all the promise in the world to deliver something realistic, cool, user friendly and something that can be enjoyed by all ages, but the harsh reality is that it fails on pretty much every level and not only is it not enjoyable, but it is actually annoying to play for the most part, with nothing being explained properly and gameplay being seriously weak. In fact, the best part of the game was actually when it glitched out on me and I was shot about 400 metres in the air with my fire extinguisher, which was unexpected but amusing.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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