Firework Apprentice, an explosive Windows Phone puzzle game

Firework Apprentice is a relatively new adventure game for Windows Phone 8 where you play the role of a firework apprentice who must work his way to the Emperor's Palace for an annual firework contest.

The game takes place in a world full of floating islands, which are filled with puzzles, colorful characters and explosive fireworks. You also have magical moon dust that can be collected and used to enhance your fireworks.

Available for low-memory devices, Firework Apprentice comes across as an enjoyable adventure/puzzle game for Windows Phone but may take you a few turns playing the game to get used to the controls.

Nice graphics and layout but mechanics requires patience

When you first launch Firework Apprentice the game will send you through a tutorial on game mechanics. You begin the game at your home village/hut where you must collect a handful of fireworks and head out on your journey towards the Emperor's Palace.

Once you complete the tutorial and return to the game, a brief menu will appear with options to continue the game, view your game achievements and access the game's options. Options cover the following:

  • Mute the Sound
  • Toggle between touch controls and an on-screen directional pad
  • Language choice
  • Re-launch the tutorial
  • View the About screen
  • Reset your gaming progress

Mechanics with game play has your movement controlled by either an on-screen d-pad or by simply tapping on the screen to the spot where you want your apprentice to go. The gaming screen view can be rotated and zoomed by touch. Your orientation doesn't adjust automatically so it may take a little time to get used to the mechanics of moving around the floating islands.

The Firework Apprentice has twelve levels or worlds to travel through, each with a unique environment and challenges that you have to overcome to advance one step closer to the Emperor's Palace.

You will use your fireworks to tackle some of these challenges such as destroying obstacles that block your path. Along the way you can collect Moon Powder that is hidden throughout the worlds and can be used to upgrade your fireworks.

As you move about the worlds, information panels are present and marked with a blue exclamation point. Puzzles and other obstacles are marked with a red exclamation. Just tap on the exclamation point for more information. Your objective or mission for each world will be displayed as you enter each world.

To place a firework, just double-tap the screen to place the explosive. A power meter and flame button will appear on the screen. You adjust the power by sliding up on the meter and tap the flame button to light the fuse. As with most fireworks, it is not advisable to stand next to them when they explode. You will need to light the fuse and move the apprentice to a safe distance. Otherwise, he'll be blasted into orbit and you will fail the level. Should the firework not do the trick, you'll fail the level.

Game Play - The most obvious path is not always correct path

The Firework Apprentice has plenty of puzzles that you have to solve in order to advance through the game. As you approach these puzzles, the direct approach may not be the correct answer and here is where the game drive you nuts.

For example, with your first world after leaving your home world you are tasked with clearing a few fallen trees that are blocking the path. Your first guess would be to place a firework next to the fallen trees and blow them off the path. Before you try dozens of placements for your fireworks, this direct approach to solving the puzzle will not work. If you could only blow something up that would knock the trees off the path…

The indirect approach to solving many of these puzzles adds to their difficulty. However, once you've discovered the solution, putting things into motion isn't very difficult. You just need to remember to get out of the way of the fireworks.

Overall Impression - Better mechanics needed, but not a bad start

The Firework Apprentice isn't a bad title to consider adding to your Windows Phone gaming library. It has decent graphics and has some rather challenging puzzles.

The mechanics of game play could be better though. I had difficulty placing fireworks (double-tap didn't register) and all too often I couldn't clear the area before the fireworks exploded. The ragdoll effects were nice as your apprentice blasted into orbit but definitely defeats the purpose of the game.

I would also have liked the point of view to have been more automatic, keeping the view over your apprentice's shoulder. I kept finding myself constantly adjusting the view as the apprentice moved about the screen. It often resulted in slower movement simply because I couldn't see where I was going.

The game also needs more than one firework to use to solve a puzzle. If you fail with your only firework, you have to restart the level, which can be a time consuming. If you had a second firework, you could learn from your first attempt and the game wouldn't drag on as long.

As is, Firework Apprentice is a challenging game for Windows Phone but does require a little patience. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but there is a trial version to let you try things out before buying.

The game is available for 512MB devices.

  • Fireworks Apprentice - Windows Phone 8 - Trial / $1.99 - Store Link

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.