You might not believe it, but just minutes before starting this review, your brave, handsome writer here was involved in a hazardous case of firefighting. Well, in truth, I was just engaged in a bout of frantic stamping after the tea-towel I left dangling precariously over the hob caught fire with alarming speed.
Nevertheless, though it's fair to say no-one's lives were in danger, the panic that invaded my mind was frightening. I'd be a fairly awful firefighter. Then again, chances are so would the stars of Connect2Media's Go! Go! Rescue Squad, where chucking people around and throwing fire extinguishers directly at the flames is the common practice.
Though far from a firefighting manual, putting fires out and saving stranded civilians (namely, the collective members of the Darwin family) from a series of buildings stifled by mini burning infernos is your aim here. Go! Go! Rescue Squad takes the form of 2D mazes that play out across a collection of six different city districts.
You take charge of either one, or a collection of, firefighters placed in each level, and using their canny ability to throw objects great distances (when did that become part of firefighter training?), you have to help every member of the family escape the walls of fire that surround them.
This essentially involves picking up extinguisher, then chucking them at fires to put them out, or logging the family members themselves and throwing them strategically – either to another fireman on a nearby level, or to any walkway that leads to one of the exits.
Each member of the family comes with their own personality, meaning they all react differently to the onset of fire. 'Screebs', much like myself, panic and run without caution, even if that means leaping to their deaths off the edge of a ledge. Conversely, help is at hand in the form of Happy Days-esque 'Funzies', who bravely pick up extinguishers and put out any fires they encounter themselves.
But the responsibility of completing every level and solving every puzzle remains with you. As you progress through the mass of stages, working out just how you do it based on the reactions of those needing rescuing and the elements around you (wood and glass platforms can both be smashed through, but in entirely different ways, for instance) gets increasingly trickier.
Controlling your firefighters, as you might expect, is merely a matter of touch – hold your finger somewhere, and they will follow. Once you've picked up items along the way, targeting where to throw them is handled similarly, using 'aiming strips' that appear on both sides of the screen to swipe your finger up and down so it hits the right spot.
This can be a stiffer task than it might first sound, however. Go! Go! Rescue Squad's touch controls are a pinch stubborn at times, meaning you'll occasionally find yourself fighting them when lengthy and complex throws are required, especially if you don't happen to be standing in the ideal spot. Furthermore, the target line sometimes takes its own mind-bending, slightly nonsensical path, slowing the pace of play right down. It's Rescue Squad's one and only weak point: when it comes to puzzlers such as this, time should be spent working out the solution, not applying it.
But, in a nifty move, if such frustration or the mere might of the task causes you to make a mistake, it's possible to reverse time, slipping back through step after step to right your wrongs and giving an alternative to the often overzealous full restart. It's not revolutionary (and it does carry a performance rating price – see PG Tips) but it remains an encouraging move that will keep players engaged and give them to confidence to tackle any level that appears beyond them.
And with 64 levels, there are plenty of opportunities for such encounters – Go! Go! Rescue Squad will test your problem solving skills to the limit. It will, for many, seem a little like trudging through water at points, but all the liquid in the world couldn't dampen the flames of this great thinking man's action puzzler.