We’ve missed November, New Year and Chinese New Year, but Fireworks Mania should be celebrated all year-round as one of the best casual sandboxes out there. It’s undoubtedly the best fireworks simulator.
Fantavision was a great game back on the PS2, but is there a demand for firework games? It’s pretty easy to pick up yourself a box, but as a Netflix and chill session, it’s over before you know it, and you’re out of money. Erm, that wasn’t a hooker anecdote.
Legend has it that Laumania created the game after their son wanted to experience one. Perhaps he should suggest to his father to find cures for diseases too, as this effort is absolutely brilliant and a must, not just for the pyrotechnics in you.
Not that the term should be discriminatory, as Fireworks Mania is educational in many respects. The immediate one is applying physics and management skills; the second is psychology and unlocking that arsonist in you. It’s ok to be an arsonist in this game, though – spoiler: it isn’t real, so go all out in it.
For a game that is solely about launching fireworks and only having two locations, it’s just so incredibly moreish that it’s not a novelty like the Cobbler 905 or Thic Billy. Sometimes these games are a bit of fun, never to be revisited. Not Fireworks Mania.
That same energy and enthusiasm from playing the demo were reignited that I had to go and buy it. Having given it some time, no, it’s not a gimmick, and there have been numerous additions along the way. You could wonder whether we’re getting ahead of ourselves in terms of gameplay, but everything here is face value.
Your grandfather hasn’t left you their fishing boat or their ranch. Likewise, you don’t need to micro-manage staff to develop your own brand of firecrackers. All you need to do is whip out your infinite supply of explosives, line them up, then start creating art in the skies (or peoples homes).
The selection is vast, and each item has a unique characteristic that differentiates it from the others, and best of all, you can mix and match them. Choose from rockets, cakes, firecrackers, novelties and props; there’s plenty to experiment with and reconstruct the big bang.
A favourite of mine was lining up propane tanks and chucking in about 20 odd cakes to cause havoc, with some visceral screen shake like you were in World War III. The fireworks in Fireworks Mania can be placed randomly, or you can set up timed displays by linking each one with a burning fuse.
Physics naturally apply here as randomly placing a firework, or dropping it, will cause it to collapse on the floor. Alternatively, you can place them upright, undeterred by gravity, or rotate them to aim them. This plays out as a nice little trick as I would often aim the rockets so they would fly through a barn or clip an object to score points in a game made up on the spot.
The visuals are lo-fi similar to something like Kill It With Fire, and quite frankly gorgeous. There’s no surplus music or unwanted dialogue, just pure unadulterated mayhem. But the stars of the show are the fireworks, and you genuinely revel as you decorate the stars.
Despite the low-key, yet gorgeous visuals, you’d expect Fireworks Mania slowing down or crashing. This adds to the effect, though. Without limitation, you’re bound to overdo it with the most explosive items you can find, place them in the petrol station with propane gas, then BOOM! blue screen of death. But no. The effects boast that screen shake with deep bassy sounds of Civil War cannons.
Again, everyone will have their favourites, and as a family game, I did the rarity of connecting the PC to the TV, so we can all play. While mixing propane was my kink, my eldest daughter likes the addition of YouTuber pyrotechnics inspired by Pewds and Mr Beast. The youngest just wanted to place flamingos everywhere. Even the wife joined in and said that the colours were inspiring. So there you have it, one for all and all for fun. Superb.