Firefighting games have never been particularly popular, and when one does surface it often ends up being a low-budget stinker.

Fortunately though, Laughing Jackal has found the perfect genre crossover to fit this red hot theme: twin-stick shooter meets roguelike.

Blaze, a distinguished fireman in London (well, he has a moustache) is out to extinguish 16 randomly generated floors of fiendish fires. It's your job to guide him across the four different stage types, each more flammable than the last.

Let me tell you now, that's no easy feat. Like fire itself, Flame Over is unforgiving in nature. You'll have to juggle a time limit, seemingly unquenchable fires, and civilians best described as fireball magnets.

Your two main tools for fighting the flames are extinguishing foam and a water hose. Foam's essential to putting out smouldering furniture and electricals, while water douses fires fast, soaking areas to prevent fires from starting up again.

Plan of action

At first, you may think storming through each floor in a gung-ho fashion works best, but you soon realise that leads to civilians being blown away in backdrafts.

I soon found myself peering inside each room the moment I opened its door. That's the only way I could ensure I wasn't about to waltz in to certain doom.

Peculiarly, NPCs will quite happily stand about in a raging fire until you walk in - then they'll start freaking out. Suits me though, as it means I can chuck a water bomb in their general direction and go in hose blazing.

Without quick reflexes and and a keen eye, each room is a death trap waiting to happen. I soon learned to steady my nozzle rather than running around, spurting in every direction.

Embers are perhaps the most deadly force in the game. I once saw an ember fly across one room and into the next, killing Marmalade, the cat I thought I'd saved.

There's nothing more depressing than a dead cat.

Of the essence

Once you're in the know, it's all down to good time management and a spot of luck. I'd scope the blueprints of the building, make a beeline to turn off the electricity, then put out fires, rescuing everyone I could.

Each citizen I saved gave me an extra minute to stave off Death. As in, the Grim Reaper dude. He's not quite so scary once you learn how to coax him around each stage, which helps to make the timer seem slightly less insurmountable.

Miss Ion and the shopkeeper are always a sight for sore eyes when they show up. Missy hooks me up with coins for permanent upgrades, while the 'keep sells fancy gear like defibrillators.

Perseverance

Some niggles will frustrate you for the first hour or two. Civvies not following you fast enough, then dropping off, or not making it around a sharp corner. The loading times can grate a little too.

Despite these flaws, you'll keep being drawn in to play again. You know that your next run will be your best. Before you know it, you'll have runs lasting the better part of an hour.

As time goes on you'll learn how to master each tool, how to tackle different types of fires, and work out how flames travel.

While not quite as polished as Spelunky, Flame Over scratches the same itch in a completely different guise.