Developer MoaCube describe Bonfire as a game that ‘respects your time but hates your guts’. It’s certainly an attention grabber, but I feel MoaCube might be underselling it here. While teeth-gritting trial and error is the Roguelike’s razor-tipped calling card, nothing in Bonfire’s difficulty feels arbitrary. Its challenge is an invitation, rather than a coercion, to explore the elegant interplay between class abilities. Your monk might mete out devastating attacks and healing spells, but he’s going to need protection. Your mage can absolutely clean house, but not before charging his spells. “Cool tactics and combos are not only possible, but mandatory”, say MoaCube. Brutal, progress deleting murder is still a very real possibility, of course. But Bonfire ditches the RNG for a genuinely tactical experience.
Bonfire‘s demo showcases a compulsive turn-based combat system that’s deep on strategy but lean on extraneous features. There’s no villages, rumor mongering inn-keeps or shopkeepers with exactly ten rats plaguing their basements here. While the character and monster design did make me wish for more opportunities to explore the world, I appreciate the focus on honing a simple but effective gameplay loop.
Building a better Bonfire
Moacube’s current focus is a complete visual update of Bonfire. This includes comprehensive character redesigns that bring variety and diversity to a range of combat classes. Comparisons between the two art styles below:
I’d be remiss to not mention the sound design here too. What I’ve decided to dub a ‘Gaelic Techno’ soundtrack lends a soaring energy and sense of epic motion to each battle. This blending of the modern and timeless is a perfect match for Bonfire’s sleek presentation of ancient questing. I also can’t remember the last time the jingle of coins from slain enemies felt quite so satisfying. You can check out the free demo and keep up with Moacube’s progress here.