‘Embr’ (Xbox) review: brilliant ideas stifled by poor performance


It’s crazy to think how few fire fighting games there are in this world. Given that fire is both humanity’s greatest discovery and greatest threat, one would think that we would have more to show for its existence than people like Rosco McQueen, Burning prowlers, and side quests in Grand Theft Auto.

Bringing the under-represented genre into the 21st century with a comedic and capitalist twist is Embr: the latest offering from independent developer Muse Games, with the backing of Curve Digital, a studio that has a knack for publishing cult hits, as seen with Fire race and Just die already.

With more game modes than you can spray on your pipe, plus endless challenges and plenty of stages and customizations to unlock along the way, Embr has all the hallmarks of a smash hit, but it’s more of a slow burner – a game that has a lot to offer, but really doesn’t excel in any area.

From the start, Embr seems to embrace the stupidity of Completely reliable delivery service Where Overcooked: games steeped in silliness, but with enjoyable basic mechanics that make it easy to pick up and play, and hard to master. Due to its rather idiosyncratic approach, Embr doesn’t really capture that all-important essence, and if anything, it feels more dated than its famous predecessors.

The first very important experiences with Embr are shocking. It feels a lot rawer than you would expect from a game that has been in Early Access for over a year. On Xbox Series X, the framerate is surprisingly low, while the combination of janky controls and a drastic, heavy field of view will let you tweak your settings over and over through its tutorial section.

The graphics are always forgivable if the gameplay excels, but that also has its issues.

Controls and tasks are straightforward and simple; the game is heavily based on your ax, pipe, goal finder tablet, and ladder. Using them easily is a whole different matter. Even after adjusting your screen to a smaller field of view, aiming acceleration is a major issue, making an imprecise, floating user interface even looser – barely what you need when a house is on fire. on the ground around you.

In tandem with Embrcollection of hazards, the pressure is strong from the start. Its combination of fire, electricity, gas, explosive barrels, bizarre building layouts, and collapse dangers is quite skillfully deployed, turning rooms and often entire stages into puzzle-solving escapades, though. you want to save everything or get some valuable loot.

However, these often make it difficult to simply benefit from the firefighting experience; sometimes less is really more, especially since EmbrThe single player mode of is quite difficult to excel. It’s clearly designed for multiplayer, which is crippled by one glaring omission.

The most frustrating thing about Embr it’s that it doesn’t meet the ever-growing demand for co-op couch multiplayer, even though it is the ideal candidate for it. It would be much easier to overlook its flaws if it provided a basic split-screen mode for two to four players.

Perhaps this is because it is mainly developed for PC, where the game works much better; instead, players work with invite codes. After doing a round in multiplayer it was really fun, but it’s hard to know where your partner is, especially if he gets hurt and you are forced to save him as well.

For those who have fun among the faults – and there is plenty to do –Embr offers a multitude of challenges and unlocks for the most committed finalists. You can also adjust your loadout for specific levels – a much needed boost to its often strenuous single player mode. Each of the game’s 25 stages also features a handful of different modes, including Special Item, Embr Eats, Low House Damage, and my (rather ironic) personal favorite, Destruction.

And yet if you come to Embr believing this to be the latest in a long line of multiplayer-oriented classics, your hopes might be dashed by the way it currently functions. Fortunately, plans are in place for updates in the coming months – the fires of passion may intensify in the near future.

Disclaimer: I have received a copy of Embr in exchange for a fair and honest opinion. The game has been tested on Xbox Series X.