App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Flame Versus Blaze is a colorful little MOBA by Square Enix that is packed to the gills with style. It pits two teams of three against each other in a fight to awaken reactors that are essentially giant robots that fight in the middle of the map. It's a very anime-inspired concept for a game, and that's also reflected in the game's aesthetic. Unfortunately though, Flame Versus Blaze seems like it tends to favor style over substance, which makes for a multiplayer experience that is confusing and hard to control.
Much like traditional MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas), Flame Versus Blaze is played from a top-down perspective, and your goal is to work with your teammates to control certain map objectives. For this game specifically, these objectives are all centered around powering up your team's reactor and hindering your opponents' ability to do the same. This can be done in a variety of ways, but all of them basically revolve around dealing damage to Manaplants, which are essentially the equivalent of towers in Dota 2 or turrets in Vainglory.
Although the basic template for Flame Versus Blaze sounds like a typical MOBA, the game makes quite a few changes to mix up the formula. For starters, every character in the game has two modes they can shift between that can alter their stats depending on the role they need to play at different points in the match. Also, Flame Versus Blaze takes a different approach to “creeps,” the AI-controlled units in MOBAs that you can kill to level up and press advantages. Instead of simply charging at towers, “creeps” in Flame Versus Blaze are neutral, unmoving creatures that you can capture by defeating. Captured creeps can then fight alongside you, push other objectives, or even help power up your reactor.
Pay to slay
As a free-to-play game, Flame Versus Blaze limits your access to heroes, but you can earn new ones over time in addition to cards that you and equip to your characters that can modify their stats and abilities. You can earn all of these things simply by playing Flame Versus Blaze, but it requires quite a bit of time, persistence, and luck to accumulate a good set of heroes and gear.
This is because Flame Versus Blaze asks players to “bid” on every match that they play with a limited in-game currency that replenishes over time, through watching ads, or paying money. Bidding on matches doesn't guarantee better rewards, but it does increase your chances of getting good drops after a match, particularly if you win. It's a weird and confusing system, and one that definitely grants advantages to those willing to grind and/or pay over those that don't. While it's nice that simply playing well can also grant good rewards, the whole monetization scheme keeps matches from feeling balanced.
Even if Flame Versus Blaze didn't have such a questionable set of free-to-play hooks, its action would still be compromised purely by how the game looks and plays. Flame Versus Blaze isn't an ugly game by any means (in fact, it's Persona-style menus and character designs are actually pretty cool), but everything animates in a pretty jerky way and the action can get obscured quite easily.
A lot of this has to do with the creep capture system, which allows players to get a gaggle of various creatures following them over the course of the match. With every player having a personal army in tow, team fights become a confusing mess. It's hard to target the right enemies and see who is doing what because there are so many units on screen and they're all jerkily performing their attack animations. Other things, like animated cutscenes, also interrupt the course of matches in ways that make playing Flame Versus Blaze pretty frustrating.
The bottom line
Flame Versus Blaze may seem pretty slick on the surface, but it's got a whole mess of problems. It feels very pay-to-win and its action is hard to follow and control. Considering these issues, and the fact that there are much better (and fairer) free-to-play MOBAs out there, there's really not much reason to play Flame Versus Blaze.