A Sight Unseen review
Fireball! Joyful Studios ios / Android
In Fireball!, you play a perfectly ordinary person in an office who can, at any moment, summon a fireball and throw it with ease, just like most video game characters from the golden age of Nintendo to the present.
Unlike any of these characters, throwing your fireball will never help you. It is a very sad state of affairs, but you’re really better off just sitting at your desk and answering the phone, filing, and scheduling appointments.
But should you want to summon your fireball, you are free to tap left, tap right, tap up, tap down, and then make a circle clockwise, and presto–you have your fireball. The fireball is hot, and you pretty much have to throw it right away, or it will burn you. But throwing it is always a terrible idea. For example, when your boss chews you out about a filing error (sounding a lot like a muted trumpet), throwing your fireball will injure him, and his screams are terrifying.
But it’s not just that he’s injured, you’ve also set the office on fire, summoned the police, and many, many people want to talk with you. Soon you’re boarding a plane to Canada, where, guess what? Your fireball doesn’t help you.
When you are rained upon without an umbrella, throwing the fireball only sets some nearby trash on fire, which then ignites a car, and pretty soon you’ve set a cute 8-bit city ablaze. When you see a man violently arguing in the street with his girlfriend, throwing your fireball not at him, but near him, makes them both run from you, hand in hand and later, you learn, they have conceived child later that night. They still hate each other, and both are now armed, and looking for you.
In a scene where you are mugged, fireballing the muggers scares the hell out of them, but any joy you feel is fleeting. They are so scared, and their burns look so serious, even in the pixelated graphics that that I actually shouted out, “I’m sorry!” after throwing my fireball.
Later, you find out that one of these victims is an honor student who has turned to a life of crime trying to pay off his drug-addicted mother’s debts.
This has not deterred some players of the game. Reviews online talk about how “It’s weird taht yu can set the whole city on fire AND NOT GET ANY POINTZ???”, and some people have discovered that when you set the Ice Cream Truck ablaze, it plays a funny song. I found the song to be more sad than funny, like something out of Bela Tarr’s Satantango.
But I keep hoping that at one point, my fireball will come in handy. Maybe I’ll meet someone else, good or evil, who also has a Fireball. Maybe at one point, the office will be hit by a UFO, and I’ll need to defend my boss and my coworkers.
In the meantime, there’s just a shadow over the whole game. In fact, in one of the commutes to work, my character came across a bag of gold coins, marked with a “$”. I didn’t go near it. I was too afraid.
Evan Johnston is a written designed illustration in Twitter (@evn_johnston) and Brooklyn.
editor’s note: this post is part of our Sight Unseen series in which people review movies or other things they have NOT seen or read. Guidelines for submitting to Sight Unseen can be found here