Last month, Handmark released the 3D object manipulation puzzler Blaze: Fire Puzzle for both the iPhone [link] and the iPad [link]. We didn’t cover the title at the time, but I’ve spent a good bit of time with the title this weekend and have had a pretty good time of it.
The first thing you might notice upon seeing our gameplay video or trying your hand at the title is its similarity to Zen Bound. Indeed, the game is basically Zen Bound, but with fire and candles instead of a paint-soaked rope (and classical tunes instead of ambient audioscapes accentuated with plucks of the koto). It’s a definite derivative title, but given the ridiculous amount of time I’ve played the Zen Bounds, it’s an interesting variation on what’s undisputedly Secret Exit’s formula.
Blaze takes you through 45 different candle-adorned 3D objects with the objective of lighting every single candle — and fast. This is done by way of touch controls — one finger to twist, two fingers to rotate — just like Zen Bound or, in the case of the iPhone 4, using the integrated gyroscope if you choose. (I recommend not choosing, though — it’s a far inferior method of manipulation as compared to straight-up touch.) You start off with but one of the many candles on your object lit. From there, the goal is to manipulate the object such that all candles become lit, with a gold medal achieved for completing the task in a stated (and short) number of seconds. The physics of fire-lights-what’s-above is an interesting twist (ugh…) on the Zen Bound formula.
The iPhone version of Blaze utilizes the Retina display for high resolution rendering, while the iPad version takes full advantage of its screen real estate. Both versions feature social networking integration with OpenFeint, Twitter, and Facebook.
So, if you’re a seasoned Zen Bound veteran, is this game for you? I consider myself a member of that camp and have had a great time with Blaze. If you’re all wet behind the ears and have clocked zero time behind either title…and have to choose just one, I would probably urge you towards Zen Bound, as it feels a bit more polished, more refined — but the enjoyability of both titles is quite similar.
Anyone on the fence can try out the limited, free version of the game for both devices: