Firewatch is a mystery game set in the 1989 Wyoming wilderness, where your only source of human contact is through a handheld radio. The first game developed by Campo Santo (in collaboration with Panic, Inc.) is a beautiful, artistic, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and exciting game that will leave you wanting so much more.
First off, the art style of the game is absolutely stunning. Olly Moss (Mondo posters) helped design the world and visual style of Firewatch. It is hard to convey, how simple yet complex the world looks without showing you these screenshots.
The style alone is worth it, but the story is really amazing. You play as Henry (voiced by Mad Men’s Rich Sommer), who has his own reasons for taking this lonesome summer job as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. In the first 10 minutes of the game, you learn about Henry’s past through text interactions as you hike up to your lookout tower. It’s hard for me to describe how beautiful and heartbreaking this part of the game is, but without spoiling too much I’ll say that it is equivalent to the first 10 minutes of the movie Up. We don’t even see these characters, yet through the text choices, soundtrack, and juxtaposition of the gorgeous scenery, you’ll feel like you’ve spent a lifetime with these people.
Once you’re at your lookout point, you meet Delilah, your supervisor, who only communicates via the two way radio you are given. Over the course of the summer your friendship with Delilah grows as does the mystery surrounding this place. With every twist and turn along the way, Delilah is at your fingertips to guide and/or comfort you as you try to figure out this mystery. My only complaint about the game is that the mystery builds to something bigger, but the payoff is mediocre in comparison. That aspect was a slight disappointment, but this game is truly about the journey over the destination.
Hiking through the wilderness is exciting and scary sometimes, but you feel like you’re in Wyoming. Your map is an actual map and compass that Henry will mark with a pencil when you find a new area. It’s little details like this that make games great.
Everything view is breathtaking and I often found myself just wandering around taking screenshots of the world. Olly Moss and Campo Santo did an amazing job crafting this cartoonish, yet life-like environment. I should mention that the Steam version of Firewatch comes with a camera feature (a disposable one that you naturally find when hiking around). You can use this camera at any time to take breathtaking photos of the scenery, then you can download or even order prints of the pictures from Campo Santo’s website. Here are a few of my snapshots:
Firewatch is an amazing and breathtaking game full of mystery and heart that are only enhanced by it’s stunning scenery and immersive soundtrack. Campo Santo has hit a home run with their first game and I can’t wait to see what’s coming up next.
Firewatch launches for PS4 and PC, Mac, and Linux on February 9th, 2016 for $19.99.
Pre-order now on Steam, with a 10% discount until February 12. There’s also a Steam bundle that comes with the soundtrack! It’s $24.99, discounted 10% to $22.49 until February 12.
The game will launch on PlayStation Network with a 10% discount for PlayStation Plus members until February 16. And we’re launching with a Dynamic Firewatch PS4 Theme — it’s $3.49 and can also be bought in a discounted bundle.
Firewatch is a 9 out of 10 Stars!
Kyle Dodson is a writer, comedian, Rock Solid Podcast producer, Batman aficionado, facial hair connoisseur, and oxford comma supporter.