Embr is a game which puts you in the boots of a firefighter, but not as you know it. You’re on a mission to make cash, and perhaps save a few people in the process. Your methods aren’t conventional but you have a range of tools at your disposal to get the job done. You can approach your job in numerous ways, such as smashing down doors, windows or using ladders to scale the side of the building.
You face the action from a first person perspective, as you race against the flames to achieve your objectives before the building collapses. There are several hazards to deal with (not just fire) including electricity and gas as well.
Embr consists of 25 missions split across three different neighbourhoods in the game world. Most of these can be played in a variety of different modes and they also carry a danger rating, which effectively acts as a difficulty marker. You can also choose between easy and hard modes if you want to have some choice over how challenging the mission will be.
Your first job in Embr takes you through the main way to play – Rescue Mission. This is pretty self-explanatory, and sees you tasked with saving clients before either they, or the building, burns to a crisp. To do this, you need to find them first. Thankfully, you have a Client Findr to locate them, leaving you the challenge of getting to them in time.
Once you reach your client, you literally pick them up and carry them to the safe zone outside. However, it’s much more fun to just chuck them into the safe zone because even if you do so from a great height, they will be unharmed if they land within the yellow markers. However, if they don’t you’ll lose them forever as they instantly turn into a skeleton. Thanks to the ragdoll physics, throwing your client from the top of a building whilst taking aim at the pile of mattresses in the safe zone is both a hilarious and heart in the mouth moment.
There are a number of other ways to play each mission, including Salvage, Demolition, Special Object and Embr Eats. You can also find hidden cash in every game mode, and take it for yourself when no one is looking.
Salvage tasks you with recovering as many valuable items as possible from the burning building for your client. Each article has its own worth, so hunting for the most expensive items is key to hitting the cash amount your client wants you to recover.
Another of my favourites is Demolition, which is the opposite of most other modes. Instead of saving things, you need to destroy the building before the time runs out. You can help the process along by igniting toxic barrels and flammable cylinders. It’s a real blast (if you’ll pardon the pun).
Every now and then, an Escape Mission will come along where you simply have to get out of the burning building as soon as possible. As it turns out, several of your competitors are trying to see you off under the guise of healthy competition. These are a great way of putting a bit of narrative behind the heroic action, and are a good laugh at the same time.
You will have to face off against these rival CEOs in boss battles at certain points in the game. These encounters don’t feel entirely necessary, and prove more of a frustration than anything else. The first sees you battling your Canadian competitor who is chucking barrels, electrifying the floor and firing flamethrowers at you. His aim is damn near perfect, whilst yours isn’t due to accuracy limitations of the controls. It’s a misstep in an otherwise entertaining range of ways to play.
Each mission carries the potential for you to earn a five flame rating, as well as an elusive 6th flame complete with an Embr gold coin to use in the shop if you do really well. There is even a bonus 7th flame and diamond (used to purchase rarest items) that is awarded when you complete all the missions in a neighborhood. However, before you get ahead of yourself getting five flames on all levels, even on easy mode, is still a substantial challenge.
You can visit the shop to buy improved firefighting equipment and accessories such as stand alone sprinklers, a trampoline to negate fall damage and even a freeze gun. What you wear can also be customised, and there are even seasonal accessories available. Your vehicle is used to carry your equipment to each mission, and its capacity can be increased which is key for handling more demanding and complex situations.
As you get kitted out you’ll have choices to make regarding your loadout. You can pre save these, and purchase more slots so you are ready for any situation that may be thrown at you depending on how you want to play.
Embr’s cel-shaded visuals do the job, matching the game’s wacky tone. However, you’ll occasionally get a choppy framerate and some textures (including that of people) will occasionally glitch out and disappear when you approach them. There’s a funky soundtrack which backs the carnage that rounds off the overall light-hearted fun of Embr though so it’s all pretty much guaranteed to raise a smile.
It’s clear with Embr that there is a focus on replayability. Each level is a sandbox style setup, offering different ways to complete the mission with a wide range of tools and items at your disposal. There are also daily and weekly challenges to tackle in addition to each level’s various game modes. You can also play Embr locally or online with friends, and the difficulty will adapt to match the amount of players. Xbox cross-platform play is enabled so here’s hoping the servers get busy quickly to make matchmaking a breeze.
Embr is fun to play, despite being a simple and straightforward game. There’s a lot packed in here, which is a clear attempt to keep players coming back for more. It may well do the trick.
Visit the Xbox Store and get fighting the fires of Embr