Up In Flames™ by Chillingo Ltd icon

Every so often, I get to review an app that is not only a little weird or funky, but it’s absolutely adorable as well. Today is that day. Granted, this game definitely has some strangeness associated with it that would qualify it to be featured in this column, but some things are weird and cute at the same time: like bush babies, starfruit, and Japanese animation. Up In Flames is a physics-based game that features a little dragon named Baff who sets wolves, yetis, and sharks on fire while wearing a mask and cape.

Up In Flames™ by Chillingo Ltd screenshot

This game might look sweet and innocent at first glance, but upon further investigation, I discovered a slightly morbid side to it. The point of the game is to launch fireballs at your friends’ cages to burn the wood and free them. You also are trying to take down the bad guys who trapped them in the first place. When I watched a wolf flail around while yipping as it was set ablaze, I knew this app wasn’t just for kids. For anyone out there who would like to only free the dragon friends without torturing the villains, I have bad news: You have to set the bad guys on fire in order to finish the level.

In Up In Flames, you’re given a specific amount of fireballs that you can use to complete the level. Using fewer fireballs gives you a higher star rating. You can bounce them off of the ceiling and walls to light up your targets, or you can use a more direct approach by aiming straight at them.

Unlike Angry Birds, you don’t have to guess how strong your launch will be. When you pull back to release a fireball, there’s a meter that pops up and shows you the strength and launch path of the projectile. Pretty nifty, right? Well, with this great power comes great responsibility. The puzzles are more difficult and demanding. If the developers are going to trust you with a fancy toy like a launch meter, you can bet you’ll need to be skilled at it to succeed.

The only draw back to Up In Flames is the store feature. When you try to buy new costumes for Baff, it makes the app crash. To clarify, there’s nothing wrong with the game itself. It’s only the extra shopping feature that has a glitch. Personally, I prefer the red mask and cape.

Up In Flames™ by Chillingo Ltd screenshot

I thought this was a great game. The puzzles are difficult and demanding, and the graphics are awesome. I especially loved the animation at the end of the level when Baff whips out a fan to make his cape wave after he defeats the bad guys. Even with the store glitch, I can definitely recommend this app.

Up In Flames is a universal app, and it’s available in the App Store for $0.99.