DANGER! Fires are popping up everywhere, and people are too busy to escape because they are locked to their cell phones. Who is going to save them? Well, the Embr crew, that’s who! Embr is a funny simulator of sorts where you play as a firefighter trying to put out fires and rescue those in immediate danger, while also working towards better pay (I mean, you gotta make that money, right?). This is a wild first-person “shooter” that is made even more entertaining by its multiplayer option.
But is Embr the right game to put out the fires? Or should we just let it burn? Let’s find out!
As you start the game, you are only given the option to play Single Player, as this forces everyone to play through the tutorial, which is quite effective in teaching the basics. You learn quickly of the main dangers in the game, namely fire, electricity, and gas leaks, and how to combat them, and you also learn how to rescue people who are in danger.
After clearing the tutorial, you are thrown into what appears to be an open world, only for it to abruptly stop, as it scores your play and boots you back to the menu. From this point, it forces you to check out the shop and purchase a ladder before finally opening up the whole menu. From there, you can finally access the multiplayer or continue through the single player campaign.
Basically, you are just given missions with relatively simple tasks with many things you can do on the side for improved score and better pay. Most missions are rescue ones, where you need to save all of the people, but there are also side missions that add extra challenge but reward you handsomely, like Salvage where you need to save as much stuff as possible, Low House Damage where you try to preserve the building as best as you can, and Demolition where you, well… destroy everything. These add a lot more to the otherwise mundane and repetitive tasks, but do not let that fool you. Fighting fires and rescuing those in danger with friends in multiplayer is where Embr shines most, because good cooperation is great but bad cooperation is hilarious.
Every so often, there is an Escape mission in Embr that tasks you with getting through a dire situation in a certain amount of time and without dying (Of course). These are really great at pooling together everything you have learned previously and applying it all in a speedrun escape similar to something like the ending sequence to Super Metroid.
The Shop is fun as it gives you new items and gear to strive for, and any currency you need can be earned through any in-game mission or side task. Daily Goals and Weekly Goals reward special currencies that help to purchase some even more useful items like the Deployable Toilet, Vacuum Grenade, and the best item, the Grappling Hook. This gives incentive to play the game daily to earn more so that you can buy more, and these items do help with speedrunning as well as creating even more wacky scenarios.
Upgrading equipment and buying new stuff is very important, too, because as you progress, stages get significantly harder and rescuing all of the clients becomes a chore if you do not spend your money in a good way. All missions can also be done in either Easy or Hard mode, and obviously Easy is the way you want to start as this gets you used to the levels and the locations of the people that need rescuing. Hard steps things up a bit, and for the casual gamer, possessing some stronger items in your loadout is of the utmost importance. This is actually a really nice system that makes good use of the shop while also making previously played levels replayable.
Both the single player and multiplayer in Embr use the same roadmap, and there are numerous stages on three different areas. As I said, most stages are about rescuing while a couple escape levels are sprinkled throughout, but at the end of each area is a boss fight, which are rather unique, albeit they can frustrating. You see, Embr plays a bit squirrelly, and that means movement is quite jagged and a bit hard to control even if you lower the sensitivity all the way down. I assume this is for comedic effect, but when it comes to boss fights, it is honestly a problem and makes the scenarios not so fun.
If I could mark one major problem with the game, that would be it. Even on the rescue and escape levels, enjoyment can often be marred by poor in-game mechanics, wild controls, and unpredictable hazards that can be a real problem. For example: Clients spawn different each time you replay a stage, and some times they spawn in a room that is mostly ablaze and happens to have an explosive barrel in there (I mean, why not?). This means that one of the people you have to rescue will die pretty much right at the start, and there is nothing you can do about it. If you are trying to clear certain challenges, this can be a serious pain, and it is even worse when you are facing a boss and hazards just get the best of you randomly. Don’t get me wrong, though, the tides can go your way as well, as I defeated one boss with such little effort because the hazards benefited me greatly one time and not them.
This is a bizarre title that reminds me of some other silly, open-world-ish premises that give you a lot of creative freedom to perform the actions expected of you. The setting of a company of firefighters is a fun and unique one, and it takes an otherwise dark and heavy scenario and brings some silly light to it.
Embr really is a solid game with some minor issues. The interesting use of fire spreading as a time limit is really cool and gives more desperation to the situation, and the overall look and feel of the game is silly and fun. There is a lot to do here, actually, and it is made even larger by the inclusion of multiplayer.
So even though the controls and camera can be a bit squirrelly, the overall presentation is grand, and you will be having loads of fun putting out fires, saving clients, recovering valuables, and taking out the baddies. This is a game that is packed with challenge, intrigue, comedy, and puzzles all in one. Embr may be a bit of a hard sell when compared to the plethora of titles on the Switch, but this is a fire that is worth putting out.
Fun premise and great multiplayer
Shop is great/Cool upgrades
Nice mix of levels, lots of replay value
Comedy is really well written
Controls are a bit squirrelly
Boss encounters are really random
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.