Last weekend we posted a preview of Ratloop / Chillingo's upcoming illumination puzzler (well, that's really the best way to describe it) Helsing's Fire. This weekend the game went live in the App Store [link] and we've had a chance to spend some time with it.

Helsing's Fire sends you on a quest to destroy Dracula, placing you in 90 randomly generated, dungeon-like levels across three different worlds (The Abandoned Village, The Haunted Forest, The Cursed Castle), peopled by the 13 different monster types that comprise Dracula's horde. The challenge is to eliminate said beasties by moving your torch about the screen, which casts brilliant beams of light and dark shadows about the play area. Light up as many ghouls as you can and strike with a powerful tonic, banishing them to oblivion. But, be careful — not all that dwell in The Shadow Blight are creatures of darkness, and those that aren't must be spared. It's a highly innovative puzzle mechanic, which we've never encountered before.

In each level you control the placement of your torch by either dragging it about the screen with a finger or tapping on a new target destination. In the majority of the Story Mode at the core of the game, you use these controls to arrange your torchlight just so, and then trigger the colored potions when you're ready. But, as I came to find out after getting my hands on the title, at the completion of each world lies a boss battle, of sorts, that puts your fingers in motion at a rather quick clip. In these encounters, a sinister being of evil leaps from the top of one obstacle to another, firing at you all the while. Only during these brief jaunts can you illuminate and decimate, while dodging his attacks, of course. It's nice to find a touch of arcade action thrown into the mix, like this.

Survival Mode is a timed affair where the pressure's on to figure out the proper potion sequence and get your torch placed as efficiently as possible. Because enemy creatures are sometimes wrapped in several multi-colored layers of protection, it really can put your brain through the ringer to get the potion sequence and torch positions laid out in sound order. And, midway through the game, the arrival of ghosts -- which can only be seen in shadow -- are no help at all. Deliciously frustrating, it is.

Integration with Chillingo's Crystal social game network allows online achievement and score tracking.

While the screenshots and preview video definitely piqued my interest, Helsing's Fire is even better than I expected. Dark gothic creatures wrapped up in amusing sequences of Victorian dialogue and, not to be forgotten, that excellent light and shadow puzzle mechanic. It's one of the most unique games I've ever played and is a true App Store gem. Surely only a creature of darkness would let this one slip by them.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • dyscode

    The only thing it needs to be perfect is more Player Profiles! aka more than one save game.

    • Matt

      The v1.1 (I think) updated released today (August 4th) added the ability to have up to 3 profiles.

  • MidianGTX

    Nice one Blake, I expected it would be you that jumped on this app. Great game.

  • Lukeb

    Is it possible to become a creature of light through playing this game?

  • Metalbear

    This was an insta-buy as soon as i saw the preview you guys posted. Great job Blake!

  • Mark

    Great game!

    Please add a level editor and more levels!

    • JackF5

      A level editor and a lot more levels would be great

    • Zoet

      Take a look at the iTunes description: it says that on each play-through the puzzles are randomly generated, meaning replay-value is pretty good (I do agree that more of the harder levels would be nice, plus a new graphical theme).

    • http://soiled.com Gload

      Actually a level editor with some way to share the level would be a great way to rack your brain to create your own challenging but beatable maps. With the random generation comes chances of maps that no longer present any challenge. Users could create full-on "hard mode" games this way.

  • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

    Love the game, posted in the thread about it several times! Very clever use of light and shadow... I have developed similar tech, but would have never thought of using it like this. Definitely an app store gem! :D

  • Mindfield

    Yeah, I bought it first day after learning of the preview last week and I love it. Great game, truly original concept in a way that makes original look easy, great soundtrack and gameplay. Absolutely a gem of a game.

    And yeah, the level editor would be a bit pointless since the levels are randomly generated in the first place -- which only adds to this game's greatness.

  • http://soiled.com Gload

    The dry humor adds a nice touch for the period represented (the two exorcists have a sherlock&watson thing going) to the already quite polished interface and appropriate soundtrack. Highly recommended. It's really hard to find any well-made game that isn't a sad "me-too".

  • Ultimate Zohan

    ZOHAN APPROVED.

    Looks good.

  • http://dannydance.com Danny Dance

    The gameplay's superb, of course, but my I think the random celebratory high-fives and pounds really push it over the top, along with the great music. That juxtaposition with its time period is, as Gload alludes to above, really sweet.

    I've only seen horizontal high-fives and the dap-fist bump combo so far, but maybe there are more of those?

  • Prab

    Just finished normal mode yesterday. Awesome game. First puzzle game I've finished for a long time. It was that addictive lol.

    The unlocked survival modes are also great to come back to.

  • justthebest?

    this is one of the best games ever

    really a good fit for the ipod and is at a price point where it is a no brainer

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      This is definitely one of the best games ever, for any platform, in my opinion.

  • MrMuesli

    Anyone know what the points under the red devil's head on the main menu are meant to denote (next to gold accumulated and time taken)?

    • Zoet

      I would guess that it means total monsters killed.

    • MrMuesli

      I guess you're right, but I'm not very far in and have 304 on the clock already! Didn't seem to tally for me...

Helsing's Fire Reviewed by Blake Patterson on . Rating: 5