Pyre Lights Indie Game Fire


Pyre was created by the makers of Bastion and Transistor. In Pyre, you are the leader of a happy band of exiles preparing their bid for freedom. Escape is the name of the game and the way out is to battle in a series of fights against other magic-led teams. If you prefer a different challenge in the Campaign mode, then you can play 1v1 against a friend in Versus mode. I think you play both, and I’ll tell you why later on.

Released in July 2017, Pyre was part of an influx of similar games during a year where gamers have embraced the party-based RPG like never before. Supergiant Games are well aware of this, and in designing Pyre has captured part of what is so appealing about the genre. Exploring a labyrinthine world filled with colourful, entertaining characters, all of whom are bidding for freedom by way of fight or flight is a great hook for any game. But there is so much more to Pyre than the first spark of interest.

The artwork behind the battle for ancient ritual bragging rights is stunning, and there are vivid colours and enjoyable game mechanics in every fight.  But the charm of Pyre doesn’t end there. The dialogue in the game is a key factor in the game, and one of the reasons I enjoyed the game. The soundtrack is amazing, and I choose to listen to it even when I’m not playing the game.

Built around firing and dodging, and world-building within a mystical universe of super-skilled creatures, Pyre could end up looking and playing like an amalgam of all it admires. Instead, it brings together the better elements of its contemporaries and delivers a very rounded game.

There are clear references to kicking back against the man in Pyre, as you battle not just against enemies, but the overbearing Commonwealth during your stay in Downside. Fighting for the rites with your party, you wander around a world adorned with fallen monsters in a colour scheme that put me in mind of a swimming pool full of Jolly Ranchers.  It’s a world that is comfortable with its own irony, and there is humour to go with the combat, which kept me interested.

One criticism I could level at Pyre would be that the battles aren’t amazingly difficult, and perhaps lean towards the noob rather than the shark in gaming terms. But there is a lot of fun in exploring Downside, and in Versus mode, you really get to know each character you can represent better. I’d advise dovetailing between the two modes to get the most out of Pyre.

Overall, I really enjoyed Pyre, and not least because of the characters, who are even more colourful than the landscape they inhabit. Each of them has their own story and stopping to take an interest in your fellow exiles is a key factor in how much I enjoyed camping out in the woods with them. Sure, the rite battles are pleasing, and the narrative is engaging, but Pyre teaches us that the journey is about who we make it with, not just our surroundings.

Out on PS4, Windows, Linux and Mac, the game is rated at 9/10 on Steam, where Pyre costs £14.99. Elsewhere, IGN gave Pyre a rating of 9.7/10, awarded it 4.4 stars out of 5 and Metacritic scored it a very impressive 85%.  You can watch the launch trailer for Pyre right here, or if you’d prefer a more detailed look, take a walkthrough of the first 20 minutes of gameplay.

My interest was ignited by the first few screens of Pyre action, and I think that my love for the game is a fire that may never go out. Smoking!

Share This Article
Leave a comment