Backfirewall_ Review

Backfirewall_ is a first-person adventure game developed by Naraven Games and published by All in! Games. The game is set inside a smartphone, run by operating system OS9 who acts as your companion. He needs your help or he will be deleted from the phone forever through an upgrade to OS10.

To save him, you take on the role of the Update Assistant and together you attempt to crash the phone software update. You need to solve wacky puzzles to create errors in different parts of the OS (departments) and sabotage the update. The OS is scared that if the update happens, he will be deleted and will never exist again.

The game is filled with clever puzzles that will keep players engaged and challenged. If you get stuck, you can speak with a little rubber ducky that will give you clues as to what you need to do next. This definitely helps guide you as I found a few times I was stumped and it gave me some helpful tips to get through the puzzle.

Each of the puzzle areas are based on the internal workings of your phone i.e the WiFi, battery, or even the photo gallery. It’s amazing how Naraven Games have managed to take so many different areas of the phone and used this concept to develop different quirky puzzles.

You also have what are called “cheat codes”. These are things that help you manipulate the environment. For example, you have one that can duplicate something or another that change the colour of certain objects. This adds to the puzzle elements nicely, as you will have to keep making use of a variety of cheat codes to solve each area. Navigating and controlling this is simple and easy to use.

There is clever and often humorous commentary from OS9 that guides players through the game’s story. Whilst the humour is somewhat – as described the developers – ‘useless’, the game’s tagline “A tragicomedy in your smartphone” is an accurate description of the unique blend of comedy and adventure.

OS9 is hilarious, the voice over work that they have put into him is brilliant and he ads so much joy to the playthrough. The story telling of OS9 being scared of upgrading to OS10 is perfect. He knows he no longer exist and is constantly trying to avoid that fate. OS9 was brilliant throughout and made it such a fun experience. Their comedic timing and interaction are second to none and the way they talk to the player is very funny.

It is a rather cool, funny and unusual game full of charm, somewhat reminiscent of a mix of the best cult representatives of the genre, such as The Stanley Parable, Portal, and Superliminal.

Backfirewall_ also features a variety of app-characters, each with their own distinct side stories. Every area you visit of the phone has unique characters that helps advances the story, some show up more than once. All are really good and unique and add to the experience and story.

The game also has numerous collectibles in the form of text message from the User. These flesh out the parallel story of said User and helps give more for players to understand what is going on here. It’s also a fairly lengthy game to play, so there’s plenty to discover here. I enjoyed it from start to finish though, with it never feeling like a chore to continue playing. I got a similar vibe to surgeon Simulator with Backfirewall_ when it comes to the presentation. The use of colour as well as the designs of the world and characters are great, perfectly matching the tone the game is going for.

There is multiple endings but it is a shame there is no chapter select so you will need to start from the beginning if you want to see something different.


Overall, Backfirewall_ is a unique and entertaining game that offers a fresh and original experience. The game’s clever puzzles, diverse app-characters, and numerous collectibles make it an engaging and rewarding game to play. Its humour adds an element of fun and playfulness to the game. If you’re looking for a narrative, adventure, puzzle game that is a bit different from the norm, then Backfirewall_ is a game you won’t want to miss.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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  • Entertaining story and humour
  • Well crafted puzzles
  • Good amount of collectibles to discover
  • Few sticking points in the puzzles
  • No chapter select
Written by
For me it started out on PC, back in the Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen days. Now I play across all platforms, but I'm gaming every day, mainly on xbox. I'm easy going, with a full-on achievement hunting addiction that I always say I will give up, but i never do! Gamertag: nuttywray

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