A couple months back, PS Plus members received a copy of Furi as one of the free games of the month. If by chance you aren’t familiar with the PlayStation Plus program, with your membership you receive at least 1-2 free titles each month, along with heavy discounts on various games among other perks.
While checking out the trailer, I didn’t think much of the game. It appeared to be a mixture of a fighting game, hack’n’slash, that meets a boss rush-mode style game with a huge influence from bullet hell games. After downloading it, as I do with every free game each month, it sat in my library for quite sometime. It wasn’t until I was getting my ass kicked over and over again in Destiny that I decided I wanted a change of pace and gave it a go.
MAN OH MAN, WAS I IN FOR A DELIGHTFULLY PAINFUL SURPRISE!
Furi is an eclectic game by French developers “The Game Bakers” that revolves around “The Stranger/The Rider”, who is a man that has been imprisoned for some unknown reason. Recently freed by a mysterious gentleman in a bunny mask, The Stranger/The Rider must defeat his Jailers in order to escape. The story telling found in Furi reminds me of Bastion, where the narrative is quite vague and to truly understand what’s going on you really have to pay attention to what little dialogue there is.
Each of the 10 Jailers have their own unique personality and fighting style, however, there are only technically 9 boss fights which you will find out more about as you progress through the game. The game also has a similar ‘Dante’s Inferno’ kind of vibe, given that there are 9 circles of hell and you fight 9 different and unique Jailers. However, I could possibly be reading into that too much.
Remember how I said that you have to really pay attention what is being said to you for you to understand what is going on in the story? Well, you’re going to have plenty of chances to hear what they are saying over and over again, as the challenging levels this game poses will leave you starting over again and again.
Unlike modern games that do a lot of hand holding with mechanics and guide you towards the finish line, Furi throws you off the side of a cliff and expects you to fly without much training. In order to fight the bosses, you have to do a carefully calculated combination of slashing, shooting, dodging, and parrying their attacks. The fights consist of two parts, a long distance fight where you can slash or shoot them, and a close quarter fight where you’re only allow to use your sword. With each boss having multiple life bars, you find yourself repeating phases quite frequently through the lengthy battles. Each part in its own right is hard as the bosses will deflect, shoot at you, parry, and slash the shit out of you. Half of the fight you will have to parry attacks and timing is everything in this game. If your timing is off, you’re horribly punished for it because the bosses will sometimes hit you multiple times cutting your life bar down in chunks with each hit for mistiming a parry or a dodge.
Thankfully the game developers weren’t entirely cruel and they gave the bosses somewhat of a pattern that can easily be learned after a few tries, making your fighting skills seem like clockwork. However, each time you defeat a life bar from a boss, the pattern does change up. Some fights would take well over an hour to get through, as I studied and experimented with the patterns and succumbed to determination and desperation.
BEAUTIFUL DESIGN MAKES DYING NOT SO BAD
While the game was extremely challenging from start to finish, the gorgeous design and scenery throughout each fight made having to repeat fights not so bad. From character to design and background scenery, to the music, each stage was so unique that you felt truly immersed into the game play.
All of the bosses had unique and interesting attributes, but 3 really stuck out to me the most: The Hand, The Song and The Line. Each stage had two tracks, one on the way to the boss and one during the fight. It really matched the environments well and helped set the tone for the battle. Some critics were turned off by the slow paced walking leading to the fight, but I personally felt it was well designed. It built tension and allowed for your liberator, the bunny masked guy, to narrate and give you some background on the coming up boss.
Overall, I was pleasantly frustrated with this game. I lost track of how many times I genuinely wanted to throw my controller at the screen, but I couldn’t find it within myself to put down the game. I felt completely challenged, which has been refreshing in today’s gaming age. I was extremely happy to play a gorgeous and stylish game where I wasn’t left with the feeling that the game was holding my hand and telling me everything I needed to do. I was able to take the time to figure it out on my own, which left me challenged and feeling rewarded after each difficult moment. While many critics were displeased by this, because they felt the game was left “too hard” to play, I felt like the creators at The Game Baker truly created something special with Furi.
“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
If you like a game that challenges you, or leaves you wanting to rip your hair out, throw the controller at the screen and burn the house down on the way out… Furi is definitely for you.