Some games have a retro style purely as an aesthetic. Some try to do new things within the once ever-present hardware limitations. Others are simply banking on the retro appeal to disguise a shallow gameplay experience. Sadly, as you’ll learn in this Arsonist Heaven review, this is most certainly in the latter camp.
The premise is that a corporation’s activities has lead to disaster. Monsters, mutants and all sorts of baddies now patrol the area, and you have been sent in to perform a clean-up operation. Keeping the situation quiet with your trusty flamethrower, each level sees you eliminating a specific number of enemies before progressing to the next.
And, honestly, that’s all there is to it. Arsonist Heaven doesn’t complicate matters by offering choices. It’s a simple case of entering a level, finding the beasts and setting fire to them. Of course, it does have an element of challenge – mostly in understanding of how the enemy movement patterns could interfere with your killing – but beyond this there’s really not much more to consider.
You have a jetpack that can boost your jumps significantly. However, the use of it is very obvious and doesn’t lead to any kind of mental or physical taxation. Although it may appear to be a 2D platformer, there’s no real challenge in getting about the levels themselves. Your flamethrower takes a long time to reload, so you should avoid approaching an enemy when low on fuel, but most levels are generous enough with the resupply power-ups.
To suggest that Arsonist Heaven is a bit shallow is an understatement. And given that there’s only 20 levels in the entire game – each taking a few minutes to complete – even if you enjoy the simplistic gameplay loop, it’s not like there’s any real meat to get stuck into. There are plenty of enemy types and new weaponry unlocks as you progress. Yet, there’s still little to draw you through to these anchors.
eastasiasoft has put out some fantastic, simple retro-inspired titles in 2023, but Arsonist Heaven doesn’t make the grade. If you’re looking for an inventive fire-based platform game, check out Fire Girl DX instead.