Primal Flame – play with fire in this atmospheric arcade game

Primal Flame 1Many popular atmospheric games use the black, white, and gray color scheme to give you a dreamlike visual experience. The characters might be shadowed in black, while the backdrop is detailed with interesting illustrations.

In Primal Flame, players are surrounded by the dark with only the glow of their flame to show them the way. The backdrops are detailed with interesting illustrations, but it’s the foreground you have to watch out for…


When you first enter the game, all you can see is a black void with tiny white stars swirling around. There is an icon of a flame in the upper right corner of the screen. You will receive instructions to “strike” the flame by swiping your finger across the screen. When you do, a small area of the screen where your finger is touching will light up. You’ll see glowing seeds fall from above that you must collect.

The enemy in this dark forest is the surrounding flora. Plants will shoot out, trying to steal the glowing light seeds, and also trying to capture your flame. At the same time, leaves fall from the sky that will dampen your flame’s power.

As your flame decreases in life, the surrounding flowers encroach on your space, lashing out. The more living plants there are, the smaller your moveable surroundings get.

Collected light seeds can be used to purchase upgraded flames and spells. Each flame offers a different attribute and is a different color.

The current score and level indicator are listed in the upper left corner of the screen, next to the pause button. Your high score is displayed in the bottom left corner.

Primal Flame 3Gameplay

To start playing, strike your flame by swiping across the screen. Hold you finger down to keep the flame alight. Just like a real match, it will probably take a few tries to get the flame started.

When you’ve successfully lit your flame, use it to collect light seeds. The seeds will fall, slowly down. To capture one, move your finger around on the screen to brush the flame across it. Light seeds will replenish your flame, keeping you in the game and keeping the invading plant life at bay.

This enchanted forest does not like the light and is constantly trying to snuff out your flames, as well as gobble up the light seeds. To destroy living flowers, swipe your flame across their stems. This will cut them out of the forest and their burning stalks will fall to the ground. For extra points, swipe flower stems in multiple places. This also helps to regenerate spells faster.

As if the living flowers weren’t enough to keep you occupied, falling bits of darkness can also extinguish your flame. Avoid leaves and rainfall to keep your fire burning.

If too many flowers gobble up too many light seeds, they will start to grow around you. Your visible space will diminish as the plants obstruct your movement.

To cut back the foliage and bring balance to the darkness, attack plants until they withdraw back to the edges.

Collecting light seeds will replenish your flame life, but they can also be used to purchase new flames and spells. Between games, visit the shop to see what new flames you can unlock, like the Magnetic Ruby, which draws the light seeds closer to your flame, or the Ethereal Fire, which regenerates spells faster. Spells cost a lot more light seeds, but they offer very nice bonuses, like temporary protection from all harm or the power to slow down time. Unlock all new items to progress further into the darkness.

There is a second world that can only be unlocked after you’ve made it to level 15. When you die, you must start from level one and work your way back up, so level 15 is not easy to get to.

Primal Flame 2The Good

The game’s atmosphere is ethereal and dark, but offers a sense of hope. The theme works well with the game. The soundtrack matches the otherworldly characteristics.

The arcade style game mechanics are challenging. You won’t get very far until you’ve upgraded your flames, which makes you want to play more.

The Bad

There is nothing wrong with this game.


Primal Flame costs $2.99. That is a hefty price tag for a basic arcade game. Keep in mind, however, that only two people made this game. Indie games are harder to make and harder to make money from. Personally, I’d prefer this title to be about a dollar cheaper, but I’m not holding it against them. The game is great.


Fans of simple arcade style mobile games should take note. This offers an original style of gameplay that makes good use of touch screen mechanics. The price is a bit steep, so I recommend watching the trailer to see if it is your cup of tea before making the purchase. If you like the trailer, you’ll enjoy the game. This game is available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Download it in the App Store today.

Related Apps

This game reminds me of Hopless: The Dark Cave, except you swipe and drag instead of tap.