I’m all for independant games, the idea of a small company working hard and achieving success is a fantasy most indie devs dream of, and most of the time I’m rooting for them. Can this be said for The Game Bakers, the developers of Furi? Not this time, sorry.
The aim of Furi is pretty simple, hack, slash, dodge and shoot your way past 9 bosses. Each boss offers a varied set of challenges that you have to learn, counteract and out-smart along the way. You have all of your abilities right from the start. There are no skill levels or RPG elements to muddy the waters. Only you and the protagonist. Originally offered free on ‘the other’ platform, Furi comes at a cost, and one that is just a tad too much in my opinion. At £15.99 this may be a bit expensive considering what the game lacks in some areas.
The story is quite simple, you play a character called The Stranger. You are released from a prison cell by a man in an oversized rabbit mask. It’s sounds quite silly and there’s no real explanation who the man is either. Initially Furi felt like I was having a bad trip and I was lost in a world that has no point or meaning, but at least it got weird straight away so you know exactly where you stand. The Stranger never offers his opinion on things and he just lets the Rabbit man waffle on in random terms that have very little meaning. That is until later on in the game when you have to question your actions, but no spoilers here.
Furi’s art style is what I like most about it. With nods to the like of Afro Samurai, which incidentally was awesome, Furi’s art work is colourful with some truly epic boss models. An example of this is the second boss that initially you think is a mechanical robot with a TV camera on it’s head. It’s not until you get up close and realise it’s a female cyborg with a spot light for a head instead. The character models are full of little tweaks and details that question what you think you saw in the first place.
Play style is easily mastered, simple button presses and longer presses for charged attacks are probably what saved Furi from being uninstalled in record time. The difficulty, however, is unforgiving. I’m genuinely glad the controls were easy to get the hang of. You are greeted with a difficulty screen, the lowest difficulty is an easy yet short version of the game that has no achievement unlocks. Not a good idea in my opinion. This straight away rules out those who want to play a game for the fun. The normal difficulty is what is recommended at the start and the hardest level titled ‘Furiest’ difficulty I will never even attempt. On Normal difficulty the first boss is hard, no messing it is just hard. I managed to defeat him in 2 attempts but there was no easing the player into the game mechanics with trash mobs. It was straight into the fight. This for me is when gamers will quickly make their minds up and have to swallow deep that they have spent £16 on a game they may very well never play again. One saving grace however was there are checkpoints during the boss fights, but that doesn’t save Furi.
In between the fights there are narratives from Rabbit man and long slow, dull, irritating walks between each level. No interactive sections just long slow walks. These long slow walks have obviously been addressed because The Game Bakers even put an auto-walk option in by pressing the A button. I’m no developer but please, don’t let this feature happen again, spend the extra time and make a cool cut scene or something.
Musically, Furi is brilliant. I’m not completely rubbishing the game because that’s not fair. It’s obvious time has been put into the game’s audio and it has definitely paid off. I will even pay some well deserved respect for the soundtrack, go HERE to listen to it and buy it should you wish to do so. I’m not sure if Furi is trying to be like something else, a Ninja Gaiden perhaps? Some think it is a Shadow of Colossus type of game. Whatever it is, it’s not a God of War or Dante’s Inferno, 2 games that are exactly what a hack and slash game should be. Defeating the bosses does give you some satisfaction though, but this is taken away should you wish to drop the difficulty. Sometimes, satisfaction doesn’t make a game good.
On the whole Furi looks and sounds great, it’s a real shame that the difficulty and aim of the game don’t stack up to what could have been and should have been a real contender for the genre. Maybe I’ve missed the point, if I have I would be glad to hear other opinions but I can’t justify the price to enjoyment you get from it. Save your money and buy the soundtrack instead.
Thanks to The Game Bakers and Xbox for supporting TiX