Work with me for a second. Forget that The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire has a connection to the Hunger Games fiction. Instead, let's just look at is as if it is a normal, everyday product that isn't being bankrolled by a major movie studio. Let's do this because, even in this vacuum, it impresses. Provided the final build is as good as the one we've been paying, it's the kind of game we'd recommend without pause: it's conceptually solid, it has a fantastic look, and it brings some new ideas to a genre that's hopelessly clotted.

You could argue that Girl on Fire is a spiritual successor to Canabalt [$2.99]. It's an endless runner that revolves around a daring escape, but it boasts some key points of iteration that change up the play in strong ways. For one, Girl on Fire boasts a regenerating health system. If you take a hit, you lose your momentum, but not the game. As a result, you get get married to sessions, and the overall runner experience doesn't feel as hollow as it usually does.

More interestingly, Girl on Fire allows you to act on blockades. When one of the game's huge human-sized hornets buzz into the picture, you can shoot it. There's also an avoidance mechanic, too, that allows you to jump between the jungle world's upper and lower tiers. Choosing when to kill and when to jump is a cool tactical layer, which brings choice to conflict. Do you jump when a conga line of hornets fly hurdle towards you, or do you stand your ground and pluck them off? When they fire back at you with their purple balls of doom-y doom, do you jump and take care of them or do you just try to avoid the confrontation altogether?

Solid controls compliment this action. Swipe to move between planes, press to aim your projectile bow weapon and fire. It's all sharp, simple, and responsive, just like the 16-bit games that the art style and tone of the game have been modeled around. Playing this is like step back into a portal where gaming was purer and simpler.

Semi-Secret's Adam Saltsman is one of the big independent developers attached to this project, so that's probably why we feel the connection to Canabalt so strongly. Even if we could stop ourselves from the comparison, we'd still be high on Girl on Fire after our hour or so with it. We'll be taking a much longer look at the final build when it hits iPhone and iPad tomorrow, so stay tuned.

  • diemer

    I believe those "huge human-sized hornets" are called tracker jackers. *shame*

    • Scott

      I wonder if when they sting you, you go into a hallucinogenic trance?

  • Lee Massheder

    Free?? Whats the catch

    • Tor Iver Wilhelmsen

      Free as in it is part of marketing for a brand. Back in the day, people had to pay for brand-selling games like Cool Spot.

  • matthew wood

    the amount of press covering this title only makes it even more likely that this will be a stinker. that women, the stuffs she is shooting, the two platforms, avoidance. welcome to the generic endless runner section of the app store. this games got the biggest name dropping line up in indie iOS history, Saltsman,  Daniel Baranowsky,  Paul Veer,  Kert Gartner,  Kevin Coulton,  Mark Johns. they literally could of landed the coup de grace on bird related dominance, instead there collective awesomness is making a movie tie in.

    • Brad Nicholson

      Yes. Everything we wrote is a big huge lie. Also, have you ever noticed that pyramid on dollar bills? The truth is out there.

      • matthew wood

        adding a health system or different AI doesn't make make it un"clotted". you can't deny the powers which created this are far greater than a runner title.  i am not from the US but i recently watched an episode of QI which explained the significance of the pyramid, found it quite interesting.

      • Nick

        Dude, shave, take the tinfoil hat off and try to remove the judgement stick out of your rear.

        It's free, it's done by a group that has a lot of exrience making things good.

        Judge it when it comes out, until then I guess you can keep your hat on.

      • matthew wood

        perhaps you should remove the judgement stick out of your rear before commenting on the way a person looks, if i said it was for religious reasons would you feel a little bit of prejudice. i've no idea why this conspiracy talk has come about, but my opinion is as perfectly valid as anyones.

      • Tharsos

        Since You've only seen the Pics and 9 second vedeo I'd say they are correct. Plus Yes it's free, dont look a gift horse in the mouth and all that. If you dont like that type of game then move on. That's all you gots to do

      • Tyler Piderit

        A religious reason beard!? Man... I should really start believing in something over here.

      • matthew wood

        start believing cos this is the second coming.

  • Brett Sherry

    Brad when will this be out? In US

    • Nick

      Yeah, I'd like to know this as well. I assume it isn't the same release cycle and they'll just pull the lever sometime tomorrow when the movie releases.

      • owenN

        it will be out th 22

  • Peter Mattson

    Will we be seeing this tonight or is it going to be released next week?