I love co-op games, and time management games that simulate different professions have been a recent favorite. Games like Overcooked! And Tools Up! are great—they challenge you to work closely with your friends, lest they become your enemies. While Embr might not fit snugly into the space that Overcooked! occupies, there are many similarities between them.
Embr is a first person multiplayer firefighting game. In it, you play as a for-profit firefighter as you take on jobs and (hopefully) rescue civilians while putting out fires along the way. You can play with friends or take on jobs solo, but either way, you’ll have to brave fire, toxic gasses, electricity and explosions as you chase after larger profit margins while buying butter equipment for your firefighting operations.
There are three main neighborhoods in Embr to ply your trade, with each location featuring ever more difficult challenges. You’ll go from pulling people out of one or two story homes to tackling fire in high rises and beyond. There are even boss fights, and escape challenges among many other different game types. But the main mode of play is rescue missions. Each mission will task you with rescuing a certain number of people before fire or other hazards end their life.
While your main objective for each location is to rescue people, once that is completed, a series of side tasks open for that location. Each of these side missions are the same between each level, but they feature a surprising amount of variation from the main mode, and even each other. For instance, one side task will have you delivering food to civilians (instead of rescuing them) and another actually tasks you to destroy buildings by burning them down, instead of saving them. These missions yield multiple types of currency: money, coins, and diamonds. Coins are earned from side missions, while money is earned with every task. Diamonds are special currency that must be earned by completing a series of objectives.
There is a lot of gear to choose from in Embr. While there’s also cosmetic consideration when choosing new clothing, all of the clothes in Embr have stats attached to them. You can also buy all sorts of gadgets, both realistic and fantastical, to help your through your tasks. You can start off buying ladders and fire extinguishers, but after only a couple of hours of gameplay you can start buying bombs that remove all oxygen from an area (snuffing out fires) and a grappling hook that can help you get to high up areas like Batman, among other fun toys.
Embr is fun, and while its gameplay mechanics feel solid in the beginning of the game, the crazier things get, the looser the game feels. I wouldn’t say that Embr has very tight controls, but it does have some fun gameplay. That is, until you start to get towards the end of the game when the density of fire and hazards start to make things a little more difficult. There are even boss fights that are interesting, but are more frustrating than fun to play.
I really enjoyed my time with Embr, but despite its three locations and dozens of missions, I felt like it’s a little content light. I don’t like games to be grind fests, but it took me less than three hours to get all of the best gear in Embr. And after I did that, I struggled to find a reason to keep playing. Maybe I’ll rope in a firefighting partner, because I’m sure Embr is more fun with friends.
Embr is leaving Early Access and is available today.