Do you enjoy that thrilling sensation when you’re on edge, trying to stay alive for a few more seconds, so you can finally deliver the killing blow to that enemy that has been pestering you for the past hour or so? Do you enjoy games that, despite the initial simplicity in both controls and mechanics, require focus, discipline and repetition in order to master its art? If so, Furi might just be your cup of tea.
Furi starts out somewhat abruptly. As soon as you wake up you realize you’re imprisoned and that you’re being tortured by this jailer, the first guardian that you’ll face.Thanks to the help of this mysterious stranger who helps you break out, and who seems to know much about you despite you knowing nothing about him, you manage to break free and fight off your torturer and from there proceed on your journey in escaping this prison you find yourself trapped in. Funnily enough everyone treats you as “Stranger” and everyone seems to be aware that you are a very dangerous individual but still, they decide to get on your way. The story itself is told via the mysterious rabbit character who rescues you at the beginning as you walk from one fight to another and make your escape, and through monologues with each one of the bosses. These characters are fully voice acted and I felt that overall they did a pretty good job in making each character feel unique and have a certain character to it. However, Stranger (you) is a silent protagonist and I feel that does the game justice here because it adds a whole new layer of secrecy to the game. That said, without spoiling the whole plot of the game, I’ll just say that slowly, as you defeat more and more guardians, you can feel the plot twisting and turning on itself.
At its core, Furi is nothing more nothing less than a boss rush game, consisting of 10 different bosses in total. Despite the fact that the game comes from the indie studio The Game Bakers, each one of the bosses (or Guardians, as the game calls them) was designed by Takashi Okazaki, the mind behind Afro Samurai. That said each boss is unique in their own way and each one of them has different phases that often require you to change the way you play drastically. One boss phase can have you fighting in close quarters in a series of quick slashes and parries, while the next phase will zoom out the camera and the boss fight will become something like a bullet hell shooter with you having to dodge your way out of projectiles and use your ranged weapon to deal damage to your opponent. The environments where you fight also vary a lot, not only in terms of visuals but the visuals themselves and the way the level is designed will create some room to explore certain weaknesses in the enemies attack patterns and, in some rare cases, even trigger some very short QTE sequences.
In terms of controls and combat I don’t think the developers could’ve done a better job in making everything feel so tight, responsive and so well put together. Your actions are limited to moving around, dodging, slashing with your sword, parrying and shooting but still, some of these, such as slashing for example, can be charged which helps in adding a little more depth to the fights and, more often than not, you’ll have to charge your dodge in order to travel greater distances in order to avoid shock waves and whatnot. Parrying plays a huge role as well, since you have to time your button press with a flashing animation during close quarters encounters with the various bosses and, if successful, your parry will heal a small portion of your health and stun the enemy, thus allowing you to deliver a quick sequence of attacks. In the end, I never felt like I was just spamming a single button, and the fact that each boss phase requires you to approach it and attack it in a certain way certainly helps a lot in keeping the player engaged and alert at all times.
One thing I really like about Furi is the fact that the game is straight to the point. Sometimes games feel like they’re just trying to stall you as much as they can but, in Fury, as soon as you start the game the main menu background will be the scenery where you left off during your last time playing the game, with the dialogue lines you’ve already heard, preparing you, once again, for the upcoming fight. I must say that this did make me go a bit like “Let’s do this!” whenever I took a break since I did get stuck in 2 bosses for a while. That said, the game offers 2 different difficulty modes at first and, despite playing on the hardest one (Furi difficulty) I felt like the game was challenging enough that it didn’t make me feel bad about failing but I can only imagine how difficult the Furier (hardcore) mode you unlock once you complete the game is. Some of the boss fights do have some steep difficulty spikes which will most likely catch you off guard and unprepared at first, but it’s nothing game breaking.
I believe there isn’t really much more to said about Furi. I just think you can’t praise enough how good the game looks and how well its aesthetic fits with the sounds and the music, it all fits so well together. The soundtrack is absolutely a joy to listen to and, in the heat of battle, the vivid colors, the brilliantly compiled music and the hectic fighting make Furi quite the experience and the sight to behold. One of the few things that hurts the game in my opinion is the price, 20€ or your regional equivalent for around 7 to 8 hours on a first playthrough (if you’re playing on Furi mode) is probably going put some people off. Besides that, I personally consider Furi a masterpiece which sounds good, looks good, plays extremely well and managed me to keep me playing while enjoying myself through the whole thing. I wholeheartedly recommend it!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - /10
Graphics - /10
Sound - /10
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