Embr – Review
Follow Genre: Party, Arcade, Firefighter Simulator
Developer: Muse Games
Publisher: Muse Games, Curve Digital
Platform: PC, Mac, Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Google Stadia
Tested on: Xbox One

Embr – Review

Site Score
5.5
Good: Nice concept, cool arcade fashion with freedom to tackle issues
Bad: Very bad walking/camera controls
User Score
2.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 2.0/10 (2 votes cast)

When party games come into your living room with an original concept that’s exciting by just thinking about it, you know it could be a fun evening. While party games such as Overcooked paved the way for a number of games to copy their successful mechanics, Embr seems to be something more new and original. Simulating the work of brave firefighters with a pinch of humor and stylized action, we put on our digital red jackets and picked up a hose and a hatchet. Fire beware, we are here to get rid of you and save any panicked civilians in the process!

Story

In Embr you get to play as a fireman/firewoman. We can only assume you are working for (or own) some type of private company, as part of the game is buying your own gear with the money you earn. In the wake of your career, you will get more effective, but you start out with a simple hose, hatchet, and ladder. Moving on a map with three different parts of a city, you have to go to different buildings on fire (maps), where you will have to rescue clients (civilians), and possibly save some of their cash from burning while you’re at it. There are no cutscenes or any additional story value, it’s mostly just organized as a party game with different levels that increase in difficulty.

Graphics

The graphics are not too special and somewhat rough around the edges at times, though there is something to say about the cute side of it all. This is a game that’s stylized as a first-person cartoon, where even the dangers (aside from the actual fire) don’t look very dangerous. It’s a style that we often see in party games such as Overcooked, and even in a first-person view, it works pretty well. It just has something that says “Hey! You can clown around in this game and have fun with your friends!”.

Sound

Adding to the graphics that are screaming to come and have fun, there’s some busy up-tempo jazz music in the background that’s adding to the chaos. This is all pretty good. The sound effects are also nicely designed and add to the already frantic and chaotic nature of the game. Everything sounds very busy, and it just works very well for a game such as this.

Gameplay

While Embr has a lot of multiplayer vibes to it, you can play this little party-arcade game by yourself as well as with friends. Now, the setup of the entire game isn’t really flawed at all. Essentially you get a bit of a sandbox at each level, where there’s a building that’s on fire. Inside the building are multiple people you need to try and save, and there are also some bulks of cash that you can try to grab and secure. How you complete these objectives, however, is entirely up to you. As you progress and finish missions you earn money, and the money is used to upgrade your gear and buy new stuff that helps you. Think about better ladders to get to the upper floor quicker as an example.

The aforementioned ladders may sound like something straightforward, but placing them with the wacky physics of the game proves to be quite challenging. We actually quite enjoyed that this was not easy to pull off, as it made sure we had a lot of laughs just trying to get to the top floor(s). What doesn’t add to the fun though, is the horrendous walking and camera controls. Looking around feels like you are playing with a controller that has analog drift issues (involuntary gliding in a direction while you are not doing this yourself) and your fire(wo)man honestly feels kind of drunk in a bad way. It’s ridiculous how such basic mechanics, done countless times in first-person games, somehow ended up being so bad. The game might not be completely unplayable, but it is at the very least frustrating to play like this. While the game could have scored some decent points pretty easily, the fact that the basic controls absolutely suck brings us to a meager conclusion. We still haven’t figured out if these horrible controls were perhaps a way to artificially increase the difficulty of the game.

Conclusion

While Embr has some things going for it, such as the ingredients required for a wacky party game that provides good entertainment for an evening, its basic movement and camera controls suck. If the game would simply have delivered normal controls, the game could have easily scored a 7 out of 10. Now, it’s stuck on a 5,5. We do hope that this gets revised and patched, at least if this wasn’t the developers’ intent.

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Rating: 2.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Embr - Review, 2.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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